The U.S. Department of Energy has designated the Central Ohio region as the newest member of its Clean Cities Program. The designation recognizes the Central Ohio Clean Fuels Coalition, which serves the city of Columbus and seven surrounding counties, for its commitment to using alternative fuel vehicles and building local markets for alternative transportation fuels.COLUMBUS, Ohio – April 23, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] “Clean Cities stakeholders in Central Ohio have made great progress in promoting the use of alternative fuel and alternative fuel vehicles,” Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. “By increasing the use of domestically produced, cleaner burning alternative fuels such as ethanol, natural gas, propane, biodiesel, and electricity, they are helping to reduce our nation’s dependence on imported petroleum, strengthen energy security, and improve air quality.” Several refueling stations in Central Ohio offer alternative fuel to both fleets and the general public. In addition to the facilities offering natural gas and propane, Columbus is home to the state of Ohio’s first public access pump providing E85, an alternative fuel that is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline and can be used in the more than one million flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) on the road today. Central Ohio stakeholders have also focused their efforts on several alternative fuel niche markets, including the state fleet and school districts. The Central Ohio Clean Fuels Coalition, which recently incorporated as a nonprofit organization, is housed in the Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research. Coalition stakeholders include the Ohio Gas Association, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research, Ohio Department of Development, American Honda, NiSource, and Ohio Energy Project. The program is designed to reduce dependence on imported oil, improve local air quality, and stimulate local economies by increasing the use of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles.