February 9, 2006

Ford and GM announce enhanced E85 progams

Chicago – Ford has announced the beginnings of a “Midwest Ethanol Corridor” at the Chicago Auto Show, which will expand E85 ethanol fuel availability by about one-third throughout Illinois and Missouri this year, as well as plans for neighbouring states. The company will be working with renewable energy company VeraSun Energy on the project.

Under the Midwest Corridor plan, approximately 40 existing gasoline fuel pumps in Illinois and Missouri will be converted to E85. General Motors made a similar announcement at the show, promising 26 new E85 pumps in greater Chicago through its partnership with Shell Oil Products and VersaSun.

Ford also announced that it is working with the Chicago City Council to put hybrid vehicles into service as taxicabs, beginning in 2007, and is lending the city an Escape Hybrid to serve as a training and education tool with taxi fleets and the public. Ford Escape Hybrid taxis are already in service in New York City and San Francisco.

GM also annnounced that it is partnering with Shell Oil Products US and VeraSun Energy Corp.to bring 26 additional E85 refueling stations to the greater Chicago area. The collaboration is part of a broader, national GM campaign to boost the use and awareness of ethanol-based E85 fuel in the U.S.

To promote E85 fuel and vehicles during the Chicago Auto Show, several major Chicago buildings will be illuminated in yellow lights in reference to the corn that is used to make most of the ethanol in the U.S. E85 supply; and city “street teams” will randomly reach out to Chicagoans Feb. 10-12 and 17-19 with giveaways that promote GM’s new “Live Green Go Yellow” E85 marketing and advertising campaign. GM also will promote E85 with a major presence in the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and with 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart.

The 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.

E85 is a blended fuel that contains 85 per cent ethanol, a renewable resource fuel commonly made from corn, with 15 per cent gasoline. Gasoline sold in the U.S. frequently contains up to 10 per cent ethanol, but an increasing number of vehicles on the road today can operate on blends up to E85. Approximately 500 of the more than 180,000 fuel stations in the U.S. currently sell E85.

Ford estimates there are 50,000 owners of Ford flexible fuel vehicles (FFV) in Illinois and 28,000 in Missouri; the company has made FFVs for more than a decade and has more than 1.6 million on the road. In 2006, the company will introduce four new models with the E85 option, including the F-150 pickup, Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car.

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