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GM's E-85 Vehicles Help Fleets Meet Legislative Mandates

October 2006, by Cheryl Knight - Also by this author

E-85 now leads the way in the automotive industry in viable alternative fuels. And, as a result of the fuel’s versatility, it has become a leading energy resource at General Motors.

E-85 now leads the way in the automotive industry in viable alternative fuels. And, as a result of the fuel’s versatility, it has become a leading energy resource at General Motors. E-85 ethanol, a blend of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline, is a renewable fuel made from U.S.-grown corn and other grain products. GM has focused on this particular fuel because ethanol can help fleets meet current and future legislative mandates to reduce smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel can also:

  • Reduce dependence on petroleum.
  • Improve vehicle performance because E-85 ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline, which allows more horsepower and torque.
  • Support the domestic agriculture industry.

    While today’s ethanol production currently consumes about 11 percent of the total U.S. corn crop, in the future, E-85 may be economically produced from other biomass resources, such as agricultural and forestry wastes or specially grown energy crops.

    Another benefit of utilizing E-85 can be cost savings. According to GM, during a spike in gasoline prices in September 2005, a gallon of E-85 ethanol was as much as 60 cents cheaper than gasoline in some areas. Usually, E-85 is priced about the same as gasoline.

    GM Plans to Increase 2007 E-85 Lineup

  • A leader in flex-fuel vehicle production, GM began producing more than 400,000 new flex-fuel vehicles in 2006. The manufacturer already has more than 2 million flexible-fuel vehicles running on E-85 ethanol or gasoline on the road in all 50 states.

  • GM’s alt-fuel lineup includes more than 15 E-85 flex-fuel vehicles and hybrid models. The manufacturer has also announced plans to increase the number of E-85 models it will offer in 2007.

    GM’s alt-fuel lineup includes:

  • E-85 Tahoe and Yukon.
  • E-85 Suburban and Yukon XL.
  • E-85 Chevy Police Tahoe.
  • Saturn Vue Green Line (hybrid).
  • Chevy Silverado Classic and GMC Sierra Classic E-85 pickups.
  • Chevy Silverado Classic and GMC Sierra Classic Hybrid pickups.
  • Chevy Avalanche E-85.
  • Chevy Impala E-85.
  • Chevy Monte Carlo E-85.
  • Chevy Express and GMC E-85.
  • Chevy Uplander E-85.

    “An important point that tends to get verlooked is that with E-85, it is not an either/or situation,” said GM Alternative Fuels Marketing Manager Mike McGarry. “Our flex-fuel vehicles run on gas or E-85, or any combination of the two. In the event of an oil or gasoline interruption, that customer would benefit greatly from having a fuel choice. And, there is no additional charge for the flex-fuel technology in our vehicles.”

    ‘Live Green, Go Yellow’ Ad Campaign Raises Awareness
    As E-85 gains more momentum in the national spotlight, GM continues to promote its “Live Green, Go Yellow!” ad campaign, launched during last year’s Super Bowl and Winter Olympics. The campaign has significantly raised awareness of the advantages of E-85.

    At GM’s “Live Green, Go Yellow” Web site (, users can locate E-85 product information, find E-85 fueling stations, and use the “cornulator,” which reveals how much oil can be saved by driving a GM flex-fuel vehicle.

    In another move to promote its “green” products, in 2007, GM’s E-85-capable vehicles will sport a FlexFuel badge and a yellow fuel filler cap.

    Most recently, on Sept. 18, GM also participated in a panel discussion on E-85 with Sheetz, GM, VeraSun Energy, local GM dealerships, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. Media and customers were invited to ask questions and listen to panelists explain the benefits of E-85 and how the corn-based, renewable, cleanburning fuel is used.

    Since May 2005, GM has announced partnerships with states and fuel providers around the country and expects to help launch more than 160 new E-85 fueling locations by the end of 2006.

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