Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – The U.S. National Governors Association (NGA) and General Motors will work together to expand the nationwide infrastructure and distribution network for E85 ethanol, which is aimed at being ready when next-generation ethanol made from non-grain sources is available. The announcement was made Sunday by Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty during the opening session of the NGA Centennial Meeting in Philadelphia.

“As we face this current energy crisis, we must do more to Americanize our energy sources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Pawlenty said. “An important part of that effort is promoting the use of homegrown alternatives. This collaboration with GM will help increase the availability of E85 around the country, providing more consumer choice and moving us toward a more secure energy future.”

Under the plan, GM will assist states in strategically locating pumps to allow owners of flexible-fuel vehicles to choose between ordinary gasoline and E85. The automaker said it has helped to bring 300 E85 pumps online in fifteen states over the last three years.

In addition to helping connect fuel retailers with available grants for pump installations and conversions, GM said it assists in determining the best pump locations based on flex-fuel vehicle registrations. It will expand these efforts to as many as eight states under the NGA partnership. For 2009, it will have 18 FlexFuel models available and has committed to making 50 per cent of production flex-fuel-capable by 2012, “providing the infrastructure is progressing,” the company said in a statement.

Of about 170,000 gasoline stations currently in the U.S., there are fewer than 1,700 E85 pumps.

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