Multi-State Ethanol Campaign Launched

The State of Wisconsin, the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) and General Motors launched a six-state initiative to promote greater use of corn-based ethanol fuel, E85, as an alternative to gasoline.

Janesville, Wisconsin – July 17, 2003 [] E85, which is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is currently made from domestically produced corn. Its price and performance are similar to that of regular gasoline, but ethanol is renewable, produces fewer emissions and helps reduce demand for imported oil. The market for E85 has increased 10-fold during the past five years, to about US$10 million gallons a year. The public awareness effort is part of a two-year partnership with the nonprofit NEVC focused on increasing E85 use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which can use either E85 or gasoline. The direct-mail program, called “I Fuel Good,” will target owners of 2002 and 2003 model year GM flexible fuel vehicles by giving them a US$40 debit card that can be used to purchase E85 fuel. Owners also will receive E85 informational literature, a list of E85 refueling stations in their area, a window sticker and a T-shirt. Additionally, participating GM dealers will receive assistance in educating customers about the benefits of using E85. Missouri, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois also are participating in the education campaign. By the end of the year, Wisconsin will have 11 retail E85 stations. Wisconsin has about 12,500 E85 vehicles in operation and has long advocated use of this homegrown alternative fuel. In 1990, the Wisconsin Alternative Fuels Task Force was established to educate the public about the benefits of using alternative fuels, including E85. A year later, Wisconsin became a founding member of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition, a bipartisan organization of 29 state governors created to increase the use of ethanol fuels nationwide. “E85 is a clean burning, domestically grown alternative transportation fuel that can be used in a growing number of vehicles being produced today,” said Phil Lampert, executive director for the NEVC. “E85 advances domestic energy security, reduces the emissions of greenhouse gases, and provides jobs for Americans.” Today, ethanol made from corn reduces the demand for imported oil by 98,000 barrels per day — representing a US$1.1-billion annual reduction in the U.S. trade deficit, said the coalition. In the future, producers will be able to make ethanol from biomass such as corn and wheat stalks and forestry waste. Government tests have shown that E85 vehicles reduce hydrocarbon and benzene emissions compared to vehicles running on pure gasoline, said the coalition. “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 and see the benefits for themselves,” said John Gaydash, director of marketing for GM’s Fleet & Commercial Operations. “We want to educate and encourage industry and consumers to use E85 in their GM flexible fuel vehicles whenever possible.”
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