DOE Selects CA Team to Jumpstart E85 Ethanol Fueling Network
PASADENA, Calif.--The federal Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it has selected a strong collaborative team comprised of CALSTART, General Motors, Pacific Ethanol, CleanFUEL USA, Community Environmental Council and others to receive grant funding to jump start a major new alternative fuel network in the state. The grant would provide partial funding to build 15 publicly accessible E85 ethanol stations in California.
E85 ethanol is largely a renewable and domestic fuel. It consists of 85 percent ethanol and only 15 percent gasoline. However, there is currently only one public station that sells E85 ethanol (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline) in California, despite the fact the state has more than 300,000 flex-fuel cars capable of running on the fuel. This project will create the fundamental building blocks of an E85 refueling network and provide new fueling choices for the owners of those cars.
The California proposal scored high in a national competition largely as a result of the strength of the team. Among those on the full team are CALSTART, General Motors, CleanFUEL USA, Pacific Ethanol, United Oil Company, Community Environmental Council, City of Tulare, the California Energy Commission, the California State Automobile Association, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the San Joaquin Valley Clean Cities Coalition, and the Southern California Regional Clean Cities Coalition.
“I’m very pleased that the DOE has made this award to this very strong and impressive team from California,” said Jim Boyd, Vice Chairman of the California Energy Commission. “Working together, we can build upon this initial DOE grant and will construct a major E85 network in California,” said Boyd.
With this initial round of funding, ten E85 will be constructed at existing gas stations owned by United Oil in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. With four pumps going to stations along the highway 101 route from Ventura to San Luis Obispo County, motorists will be able to conveniently refill in that region. A final E85 pump will be installed in the San Joaquin Valley alongside Highway 99 in Tulare.
“We view this initial grant from DOE as an important first step in building a renewable roadway for California. We’re moving from a mono- to a poly-fuel future and consumers want more fuel choices now,” said CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel.
Also praising the action by the DOE was Elizabeth Lowery, GM’s vice president of environment and energy. Of the more than 300,000 ethanol capable flex-fuel vehicles in California, approximately 1/3 were produced by GM. GM is the only car company currently selling cars in California that can operate on this domestically produced and largely renewable fuel. In January 2006, GM, Chevron, Pacific Ethanol, and the Air Resources Board announced a demonstration program to show how E85 ethanol stations can meet California’s tough standards for refueling equipment.
“This DOE grant will help us build on our existing efforts to make flex-fuel vehicles viable in California,” said Lowery. “E85 ethanol needs to become more widely and publicly available in California to offer local motorists greater choice and diversity in the kinds of fuels they use for their Flex Fuel vehicles. We are excited to help play an important role in this key collaborative partnership to promote the use of E85 ethanol and its many benefits for the environment, the economy and consumers.”
This project builds on announcements GM has already made with other state governments, oil companies, ethanol producers, and retail partners in California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Virginia. Since May 2005, GM has announced partnerships with states and fuel providers around the country to locate up to 175 new E85 ethanol fueling locations by the end of 2006.
There are approximately 1,000 E85 ethanol stations throughout the country. Most of the stations are based in the Midwest.
Ethanol for this project will be produced in California and supplied by Pacific Ethanol, a company headquartered in Madera, CA. There are three existing ethanol plants in the state and efforts underway to build four more by the end of 2007. Within the next two years, California ethanol production should reach 400 million gallons per year, an amount that would be significant enough to cover the demand from the E85 ethanol stations.
CALSTART and its fellow team members will begin work immediately and plan to have the first station operational within five to six months.
Headquartered in Pasadena, California, CALSTART is a non-profit corporation that works with its 130 participating organizations to accelerate the commercialization of clean and energy efficient transportation technologies. In performing its role as a strategic broker for the advanced transportation industry, CALSTART is committed to improving air quality, reducing dependence on oil, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and creating new economic opportunities in the state. For more information visit: www.calstart.org.
General Motors Corp. , the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
About Pacific Ethanol:
The Primary goal of Pacific Ethanol is to become the leader in production and marketing of renewable fuels in the western United States. Pacific Ethanol has two ethanol plants currently under construction, one in Madera County, CA and one in Boardman, OR and recently completed equity funding of $138 million to provide the Company with sufficient cash to both accelerate its stated goal of completing five ethanol production facilities totaling 220 million gallons per year by the end of 2008 and its plans to complete additional ethanol production facilities, increasing total nameplate capacity to 420 million gallons per year by the end of 2010. For more information visit: http://www.pacificethanol.net/.
About CleanFUEL USA:
Founded in 1993, CleanFUEL USA is based in Georgetown, Texas and is recognized as the leading global manufacturer of certified and approved alternative fuel dispensing equipment for both propane and E-85. CleanFUEL USA provides comprehensive alternative motor fuel programs for fleet managers throughout the world. For more information visit: http://www.cleanfuelusa.com/.
About Community Environmental Council:
CEC is an evolving family of programs that changes and adapts with the environmental challenges faced on the South Coast. While CEC’s scope of work deals mainly with San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, it seeks to have a broader influence and works to replicate its innovations and successes at the state, national, and international levels. http://www.communityenvironmentalcouncil.org/