Driving the Ethanol Message Home

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is taking its positive ethanol message to the streets, thanks to a vehicle donation from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA). MCGA recently presented NCGA with a 2005 flexible fuel GMC Yukon XL.

Granted it’s a gas-guzzling, oversize sport utility, but it’s also one of nearly 4 million in the United States that are equipped to run on E-85, an environmentally friendly blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Plus the vehicle has another purpose: to drawn attention to and help promote the domestic fuel. The Yukon will be on display at the NCGA trade show booth during Commodity Classic Feb. 24-26 in Austin, Texas. “The new vehicle gives NCGA staff members an excellent opportunity to promote E-85 and ethanol as they travel to meetings and events throughout the Corn Belt,” said NCGA CEO Rick Tolman. “The vehicle has already raised some eyebrows around the St. Louis area, and it’s sure to get attention wherever it goes.” MCGA, which has used more than a dozen flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) to promote E-85 and ethanol in Minnesota, said the vehicles are painted and detailed to appeal to a wide variety of drivers. Like the Yukon donated to NCGA, many of MCGA’s FFVs feature custom chrome wheels, elaborate color schemes and lettering to promote the use of ethanol. “We decided many years ago that we might as well be marketing while we’re moving,” said MCGA CEO Bruce Stockman. “Every time I stop somewhere in one of these vehicles, people want to talk about them. I’ve even had people pull me over while I’m driving so they can learn more about the vehicle and renewable energy. We’ve had good success with the vehicles in Minnesota, and we thought sending one to NCGA would be a good way to take the message to new places.” As more FFVs hit the highways each year, E-85 continues to grow in popularity. Mass commercial production of these vehicles began in 1996 when Ford Motor Company made FFVs available to consumers for the first time. Just nine years later, seven automakers offer FFV technology in a number of models.
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