Dearborn, Michigan [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] With Ford’s plan to produce 250,000 flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) in 2006, it makes sense that the motor company goes the extra mile by developing the infrastructure to dispense renewable biofuels. To this end, Ford Motor Company has partnered with VeraSun Energy Corp., a renewable energy company, to expand the fuel’s retail availability for FFVs capable of running on up to 85 percent ethanol (E85).“Ethanol is an innovative energy source straight from the heartland of America. Ford has produced flexible fuel vehicles for over a decade now, with more than a million on the road,” said Bill Ford, Ford’s Chairman and CEO. “Fueling infrastructure for our customers, however, is lagging. We look forward to partnering with VeraSun and encouraging retail fuel providers to incorporate E85 fuel options in their operations.” With approximately five million FFVs on the road today, E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, offers great potential as an alternative transportation fuel. Yet only about 500 of the more than 180,000 fuel stations in the U.S. carry E85. Ford and VeraSun will increase the number of stations offering E85, particularly in Midwest markets where ethanol availability is growing. “Increasing FFV production and E85 use represent the best near-term solution to significantly reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The two greatest challenges facing greater E85 use are access to convenient fueling locations and a lack of consumer awareness,” said Bill Honnef, VeraSun VP, Sales and Marketing. “Because flexible fuel vehicles can run on both gasoline and E85, most FFV owners are not aware they are driving an FFV and simply use gasoline. Our research indicates that nearly 70 percent of flexible fuel vehicle owners are unaware they are driving one. With Ford as a partner, we believe we can make great strides in both areas.” The Ford/VeraSun partnership to concentrate on growing the E85 infrastructure in 2006 will serve to convert existing fuel pumps to VeraSun’s branded E85 — VE85 — in existing retail outlets. A consumer awareness campaign to promote the benefits and use of E85 will also be launched. Local retail outlets and Ford dealerships will be asked to participate in the campaign. Ford is offering four new models with the flexible fuel technology (E85) option for 2006: the Ford F-150, the Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car.