Mercedes-Benz said on Monday it plans to offer its first BLUETEC diesel-powered versions of its M, R and GL-Class sport-utility vehicles in 50 US states at the beginning of 2008.

The new BLUETEC SUVs will comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's stringent BIN5 emissions standards for all 50 states. According to Mercedes, BLUETEC technology helps reduce levels of nitrogen oxide emissions and is more economical at the pump.

According to Mercedes' head of Transportation and Air Quality, Margo Oge, if one-third of all light-duty trucks in the U.S. were operated with modern diesel engines, the country would save 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. This is equivalent to the amount of oil the U.S. currently imports from Saudi Arabia.

The German carmaker did not give further details concerning which states these diesel-powered vehicles will be made available.