General Motors to Boost Ethanol in Illinois

General Motors Corporation, along with the State of Illinois and the Illinois Corn Growers Association, plans to promote greater use of corn based E-85, the renewable ethanol fuel, as an alternative to gasoline in Illinois. The announcement was made at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

Springfield, Illinois – September 12, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] E85 sales have increased 10-fold in the last five years, to about 10 million gallons a year, but the GM program should take market expansion up a notch in Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan. “There are a lot of people who own E85 flexible fuel vehicles and they aren’t aware of what they have, where to get the fuel, or the advantages of using ethanol,” said Steve Pigg, president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “This program by GM addresses all of these issues and will raise E85 awareness to a much higher level.” Awareness of E85 should grow considerably under the two-year program that will send boxed kits to drivers of E85 flexible fuels vehicles sold in 2002-2003. Drivers in close proximity to E85 refueling stations, primarily in the Chicago-land vicinity, will receive E85 informational literature, a list of E85 refueling stations, a window sticker, and a T-shirt. The cornerstone of the program is a US$40 debit card that recipients can use to buy E85. “By eliminating the state sales tax on E85 we expect the market for this clean, domestically-produced renewable fuel to grow in Illinois,” said Hans Detweiller, Deputy Director, Illinois Bureau of Energy and Recylcling. “We expect E85 prices to be reduced by about 10 cents a gallon and should assist in ongoing efforts to keep our energy production local.” Senate Bill 46 that was recently signed by Governor Rod Blagojevich made the tax exemption possible. According to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC), ethanol made from corn currently reduces the demand for imported oil by 98,000 barrels per days, representing a $1.1 billion annual reduction in the U.S. trade deficit as well as cutting automotive air pollution. “We will use nearly 300 million bushels of Illinois corn to make ethanol this year,” said Pigg. “That’s one in every six rows of our corn. I call that real economic development. Growing demand for ethanol is spurring the construction of producer-owned ethanol cooperatives in rural areas. For some of these locations these ethanol projects are the largest economic development project in 25 years.” GM produces more than a third of the three million E85 vehicles on American roads. All 2002 and newer Chevrolet and GMC full-size Sport Utility vehicles equipped with Vortec 5300 engines are E85 capable, including Chevy Tahoe and Suburban; and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Specifically equipped Chevy Silverado pick-ups are also available in flex-fuel E85. “E85 is only beginning to become more widely available, and we’re pleased to be able to provide consumers with an incentive to try this alternative fuel to see the benefits for themselves,” said Gary Herwick, director of transportation and alternative fuels policy. “We want to educate and encourage industry and consumers to use E85 in their GM flexible fuel vehicles whenever possible.”

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