December 16, 2010

Clean Fuels Foundation And USDA Expand FlexFuel Vehicle Awareness Campaign

The Clean Fuels Foundation announced today that they are working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand public awareness on fueling options available to owners of flexible fuel vehicles (FFV).

The FFV awareness effort is targeting several areas across the country to increase the use of ethanol blends in flex fuel vehicles. "Breaking through the blend wall begins with the 8 million FlexFuel vehicles on the road today, and reaching these drivers to make sure they know they can use ethanol blends up to 85%,” said Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager. Tonsager also noted FFVs of any age can use E15 or any other gasoline ethanol blend up to E85 and can take advantage of favorable market pricing on these blends when offered.

Organizers of the awareness effort say they will be focusing on several different areas that already have flexfuel pumps as well as areas with a high concentration of flexfuel vehicles. Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Washington, D.C. areas will be among the states targeted in the initial phase of the campaign. The awareness effort compliments a recent announcement by the US Department of Energy that funds provided to the states under the American Recovery Act can be used for ethanol refueling infrastructure. Stakeholder meetings have been held in Ohio and Nebraska in recent weeks with several more scheduled in the coming months.

Paul Argyropoulos of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which is supporting the campaign, said, "More frequent use of higher blends of ethanol in flex fuel vehicles is one avenue that can further support meeting the volume requirements of the renewable fuel standard, which in turn results in additional greenhouse gas reductions. When fully implemented, the program will reduce GHG emissions equivalent to taking 27 million cars off the road," he said. “This awareness effort is another avenue which federal and private interests can work together to attain these goals.”

According to a number of private and government surveys, as many as 75% of current flexfuel vehicle owners do not know their vehicle has this capability. The FFV awareness effort will employ a number of innovative techniques to reach these owners and encourage them to use high ethanol blends in their FFVs. Such measures include coordinating with automotive manufacturers to distribute information at dealerships, working with Governors to inform people through registration renewals and emission stations, and holding rallies and special events.

According to Douglas A. Durante, Director of the Clean Fuels Foundation, a little effort goes a long way in terms of consumer education. “We have found when consumers realize their vehicles have this capability and we inform them where they can get the fuel, ethanol sales increase dramatically.” While it will be a challenge to reach the millions and millions of FFV owners, Durante said they are up to the challenge. "Every gallon of renewable ethanol we place in the market means we are displacing predominantly imported petroleum with a renewable, predominantly domestic product that creates jobs here at home and strengthens our energy and national security.

National FFV Awareness Campaign

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