General Motors today announced the immediate availability of VE85™ refueling pumps to Minneapolis-St. Paul area service stations through a collaborative partnership with VeraSun Energy Corp. 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 . The announcement was made in advance of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul International Auto Show, which will be held from March 11-19 at the Minnesota Convention Center .

“E85 ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline and is a renewable, domestic fuel that can enhance the nation’s economy and energy security,” said Elizabeth Lowery, GM vice president of environment and energy. “ Producing vehicles that can be powered by this fuel is an important part of GM’s strategy to reduce vehicle emissions and dependence on petroleum and GM will continue to work to promote the increased use of E85 through partnerships like this one. ”

VeraSun announced plans to add 10 new VE85™ fueling outlets to the Twin Cities area by summer and announced the following four Minnesota locations that are now offering branded VeraSun E85 fuel including: Freedom Valu Center 4852 at Highway 61 in White Bear Lake; Freedom/SuperAmerica Franchise at 1015 Geneva Ave., N., in Oakdale; Freedom Valu Center at 3810 Silver Lake Rd. N.E., in St. Anthony; and Freedom Valu Center at 1100 Highway 15 S. in Hutchinson.

VeraSun Energy, the nation’s second-largest producer of ethanol, markets VE85™ as its own branded E85. As part of the partnership, GM will promote the availability of the fuel with consumer and dealer outreach. The partnership is similar to those VeraSun and GM entered into last May in the Sioux Falls area and last month in the Chicago area.

“We are pleased to bring VE85™ to the Twin Cities market through our partnership with General Motors and Erickson Oil,” said Bill Honnef, VeraSun vice president of sales and marketing. “Increasing both consumer awareness and the availability of E85 are vitally important at this stage. We believe these partnerships will enable us to make progress in both areas.”

“Freedom Valu Centers are committed to promoting renewable fuels like VeraSun E85 that are better for the air we breathe and are good for our local economy,” said David Erickson, CEO, Erickson Oil Products, Inc. “ We’re proud to be part of GM and VeraSun’s E85 collaboration because we want to have the Freedom name associated with renewable fuels.” 

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.

As part of its broader objective to promote E85 awareness and use, GM has partnered with ethanol champions such as the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition and the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition. With the GEC collaboration, GM has loaned E85 flex-fuel vehicles to 28 states and organizations in order to demonstrate its commitment to ethanol, and educate the public and promote the benefits of using E85.

“ Minnesota leads the nation in per capita use of renewable fuels like ethanol, and we have been excited to work with General Motors to promote E85 capable vehicles across the state ,” said Tim Gerlach, director of outdoor air programs for the American Lung Association of Minnesota (ALAMN). “We commend GM’s promotion of flexible fuel vehicles and cleaner, renewable-based E85, which together help reduce tailpipe and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Since 1998, the ALAMN has partnered with a public-private “E85 Team” to build more than 200 E85 stations and raise awareness of E85 and flexible fuel vehicles. The team has included the Minnesota Corn Growers, the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, state agencies, ethanol producers, the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities program and others. In 2005, this work helped double the state’s station count and triple E85 sales.

General Motors has provided an E85-capable Chevrolet Avalanche to the Minnesota E85 Team. The E85 Avalanche has been used in the state as part of an extensive campaign to promote E85-capable vehicles.

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. “Live Green Go Yellow” ads broke during the Super Bowl XL broadcast and continues throughout the year with print, web ( and broadcast media components.

To promote E85 fuel and vehicles during the Minneapolis Auto Show, GM “street teams” will randomly reach out to Minnesotans with giveaways that promote GM’s new “Live Green Go Yellow” E85 marketing and advertising campaign.

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.

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