Chicago, Illinois, [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Ford Motor Company is bringing its commitment to the American heartland by promoting the popularity, visibility and availability of energy-saving vehicles. Teaming up with energy partners, city and state governments, the public, and private companies to expand hybrids and vehicles capable of running on E85 ethanol, Ford will launch the beginnings of a Midwest Ethanol Corridor in Illinois and Missouri through its partnership with VeraSun Energy, a renewable energy company.“Ford is advancing innovative solutions to customer concerns over high gas prices and America’s overdependence on foreign oil,” says Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company chairman and CEO. “Ethanol is an innovative energy source straight from the heartland of America.” “With its commitment to ethanol and E85, Ford is showing the kind of renewable energy vision that Illinois and America need,” said Rod R. Blagojevich, Illinois’ Governor. “With the Illinois Clean Energy Infrastructure Program, we have increased the number of E85 stations in Illinois from 14 to about 100.” Missouri Governor Matt Blunt also supports the Midwest Ethanol Corridor concept. “This corridor project will complement the success we’ve had in making ethanol growth and research a priority, and it will create job opportunities for Missouri families.” Ford’s work with Chicago paves the way for hybrid taxicabs to go into service in 2007, part of a plan being considered by the Chicago City Council. As a Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV), Ford Escape Hybrids, which operate with ultra-clean emissions, are already in service in New York City and San Francisco. The vehicle’s fuel economy in city driving is said to be 80 percent higher than a conventional Escape. The hybrid taxis contribute to improved air quality and provide substantial gas savings for the taxi companies. Many Ford hybrid taxis already in use in San Francisco now have more than 100,000 miles. Some drivers have said they’re saving $50 to $75 per week by driving an Escape Hybrid. In New York, Taxi and Limousine Commission officials are estimating the annual fuel savings for each driver will amount to tens of thousands of dollars every year.