General Motors announced a new, multi-million dollar campaign to promote the use of corn-based ethanol fuel E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, as an alternative to gasoline to power the company’s flexible-fuel vehicles. The public awareness effort is a two-year partnership with the non-profit National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC), and will begin in six key states: Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois. The campaign will include a variety of tactics, including direct mail, advertising, online activities, and making information available to customers at dealerships. According to Phil Lampert, executive director of the NEVC, "the limited number of ethanol fueling stations makes it a challenge for people to utilize this alternative fuel source." Lampert says there are about 140 stations in 22 primarily Midwestern states. GM produced more than 1 million of the current 3 million E85 vehicles on American roads, the company reports. All GM full-size SUVs equipped with the Vortec 5300 engine are E85-capable, including the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups are also available with E85 capability. Elizabeth Lowery, GM’s vice president for environment and energy, says GM’s long-term goal is to replace the internal combustion engine entirely with a hydrogen-powered fuel cell. However, until that technology is commercially viable, she says, the company is working to improve fuel efficiency on a variety of fronts.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials