General Motors today announced plans for the addition of E85 ethanol fuel to be offered at approximately 20 Kroger fueling sites strategically placed throughout the Houston and Dallas area through a collaborative partnership with the retailer and Abengoa Bioenergy. The collaboration is part of a broader, national GM campaign to boost the use and awareness of ethanol-based E85 fuel in the United States.

"I am proud that Texas has the most vehicles that can run on 85 percent ethanol-blended gasoline," said Gov. Rick Perry. "I commend General Motors and its partners for taking steps to make this highly concentrated ethanol fuel - called E85 - more widely available to Texas drivers. I support efforts to further promote the availability and demand of environmentally-friendly fuel across our state."

As part of the partnership, GM will promote the availability of the fuel with consumer and dealer outreach. The partnership is similar to those GM entered into with VeraSun Energy last May in the Sioux Falls area and more recently in the Chicago and Minneapolis areas, as well as earlier this year in California with Chevron Technology Ventures and Pacific Ethanol.

"GM already has 1.5 million vehicles on the road today that are capable of using E85 fuel. We appreciate that Abengoa Bioenergy and Kroger have joined our efforts to make this great fuel alternative available to more people in Texas," said Ken W. Cole, vice president for law and public policy at General Motors. "We will continue to work with organizations like the GEC and the NEVC to promote the use of E85 across the country, with its many benefits for the environment, the economy and consumers."

As part of the agreement, Abengoa Bioenergy will be the principal supplier of E85 ethanol fuel to Kroger retail outlets in Dallas and Houston. Kroger plans to begin introducing the alternative fuel at selected pumps in May of this year.

"We are pleased to make more E85 fuel available to Texans through our partnership with General Motors and Kroger," said Javier Salgado, CEO, Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation. "Abengoa Bioenergy is committed to finding ways to lessen the world’s dependence on oil and to producing biofuels that are not harmful to the environment. Since we believe E85 to be among the best renewable fuel alternatives, it is vitally important to increase its availability to consumers."

"Kroger is proud to offer its customers and the many Texas motorists greater access to E85 fuel in the Houston and Dallas markets," said Bill Breetz, President of the Southwest Kroger Marketing Area.

GM also announced that it would extend its partnership with the Governors Ethanol Coalition (GEC)—a bipartisan group of governors devoted to the promotion and increased use of ethanol—to provide new E85-capable vehicles for use in GEC member states. This collaborative effort, which was launched in early 2005, is designed to increase awareness of ethanol and flexible fuel vehicles, and to promote the increased use of E85 as a renewable, alternative transportation fuel that is able to meet the demands of today’s drivers. Last year, GM loaned E85 flex-fuel vehicles to Texas and 27 other states and organizations in order to demonstrate its commitment to ethanol, educate the public and promote the benefits of using E85.

"Today’s announcement by General Motors and its partners demonstrates their commitment to the environment while providing the people of Texas with a clean and reliable fuel that will help meet our state’s growing energy needs," said Tom Craddick, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. "Additionally, we are proud that many flex-fuel vehicles are manufactured here in Texas by GM."

The announcements were made today at the Texas State Capitol at an event attended by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, Susan Combs, who were on hand to help GM present the keys for a 2007 E85-capable Chevrolet Tahoe to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC) for use in Texas to promote ethanol and E85-capable vehicles.

"The state of Texas is committed to promoting consumer support of renewable fuels like E85," said Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. "As our population continues to grow here in Texas and throughout the country, renewable energy will play an important role in meeting future energy demands while improving our environment and the air we breathe. E85 is a reliable and clean alternative resource and I applaud General Motors for its dedication to encouraging the use clean energy in Texas."

GM’s Arlington plant is one of GM’s largest producers of E85 flexible fuel vehicles and Texas has the highest number of GM alternative fuel vehicles in the country—with over 258,743 E85 vehicles on the road today. The state of Texas currently has 300 GM flexible fuel vehicles in its fleet, with plans to add several hundred more later this year. 

"Texas agriculture is ready to step up to the plate as a vital resource of renewable energy," Combs said. "On average, Texas growers produce about 200 million bushels of corn annually in addition to other biofuel resources, such as sorghum and timber. Using renewable resources for renewable energy just makes sense. It helps our country meet our future energy needs, and we’re proud that Texas can be a part of it."

Accepting the E85-capable Chevrolet Tahoe on behalf of the NEVC, Curtis Donaldson added, "We appreciate GM’s support of cleaner-burning alternative fuels like ethanol and its promotion of E85, which helps reduce tailpipe and greenhouse gas emissions, while supporting the economy and increasing our nation’s energy independence." Donaldson is chairman of the NEVC and president of Clean Fuel USA.

GM’s E85 partnership and marketing campaign are designed to encourage greater E85 use and showcase GM’s E85 FlexFuel vehicle leadership to U.S. consumers. E85 FlexFuel vehicles can run on any combination of gasoline and/or E85, a fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E85 can contribute to energy independence because it diversifies the source of transportation fuels beyond petroleum, and it provides positive environmental benefits in the form of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Research has shown that many owners of flex-fuel vehicles do not know that their vehicles are capable of using E85. In January, GM announced a sweeping consumer education and advertising campaign in Washington, D.C. aimed at promoting the benefits of E85 and GM’s flexible fuel vehicle leadership, and encouraging consumers to actively promote E85 in their communities.

With 1.5 million flexible-fuel vehicles already on the road, GM is a leader in flexible-fuel vehicle production and sales. GM has nine models that are E85-capable, and plans to add more than 400,000 E85-capable vehicles to the fleet in 2006. At the same time, worldwide production of ethanol is increasing every year, and is expected to triple by 2020.

Anthony Kodack
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