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Star-Telegram (Texas): GM plans to increase ethanol fleet

Posted on Fri, Mar. 28, 2008
By SCOTT STREATER
Star-Telegram Staff Writer

The fuel additive ethanol has been blamed lately for ills such as escalating food prices, global warming and the widening dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

But don’t tell that to General Motors Corp., which is pushing forward with its plan for half its new-car fleet to run on a high ethanol-blended fuel. Company representatives, in town Thursday to promote the grand opening of a new ethanol fuel station at the Classic Chevrolet/Hummer dealership in Grapevine, said ethanol’s benefits far outweigh any negative impacts.

“We did our own investigation. There is no way we could market a socially irresponsible product,” said Mary Beth Stanek, GM’s director of energy and environment.

Stanek and Alan Adler, GM’s manager of biofuels communications, spoke with the Star-Telegram’s editorial board Thursday.

The growing use of corn-based ethanol has been criticized recently because some studies suggest that it could result in nearly twice the greenhouse-gas emissions as the gasoline it would replace.

But Stanek noted that researchers are developing procedures to use agricultural waste and switch grass, in place of corn, in gasoline blends. Royal Dutch Shell this week announced that it is working to find ways to produce gasoline directly from plant sugars and could have a demonstration plant in place within two years.

Charles Martin, general manager of the Classic Chevrolet/Hummer dealership, said he hopes that his fuel station makes it easier for motorists to use high-blend ethanol fuels.

“This was the right thing for us to do for our customers, and it’s good for the Metroplex,” he said.

AN ETHANOL PRIMER

What is it?

A form of alcohol derived from plants. In the U.S., most ethanol comes from corn. Most gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol. Flex-fuel vehicles can run blends containing up to 85 percent ethanol. About 6 million vehicles nationwide are capable of operating on either regular gasoline or a high-ethanol-blend fuel.

Why burn a high-ethanol fuel?

An internal combustion engine runs cleaner and produces less air pollution. Advocates also say ethanol is a renewable form of energy and can reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil.

Can all gasoline-powered cars burn ethanol?

No. To burn high-ethanol fuels, vehicles must have different fuel and ignition systems. The cost is minor in new vehicles, about $100.

Where can ethanol fuel be purchased?

At Kroger stores in Mansfield, Crowley, Irving, Dallas, Carrollton and Plano.

On the Web

To find the locations of E85 fuel stations and determine which new cars are E85 capable, visit:

e85vehicles.com

e85refueling.com/distance.php?page=1

Source: Star-Telegram archives

PLANET DFW

Get daily updates on news affecting the environment at star-telegram.com/blogs.

SCOTT STREATER, 817-390-7657
[email protected]
 
http://www.star-telegram.com/business/story/550036.html

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