Ford Motor Company is continuing its efforts to promote the availability and use of E85 through ongoing partnerships with Vera Sun Energy Corporation and the Missouri Farmers Association (MFA).
Most recently, Ford sent letters to all 29,000 of its Ford Flexible Fuel Vehicle owners in Missouri to help them locate current E85 stations in their state. Although there are presently a limited number of stations offering E85 fuel, Ford, MFA and Vera Sun Energy Corporation joined together last year to create the nation's first E85 pathway across Illinois and Missouri.
The Midwest Ethanol Corridor allows FFV owners the ability to drive between Kansas City and Chicago along the I-70 and I-55 corridors, fueling exclusively with E85.
The first phase of the partnership involved the conversion of gasoline fuel pumps along the two interstates. That was followed by consumer outreach and advertising to promote greater awareness and usage of E85.
“Convenient and available E85 can make a difference,” said Curt Magleby, Director, Government Affairs, Ford Motor Company. “FFVs represent a generation of vehicles that can help protect the environment, reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil and support America's farmers.”
Ford has been credited with introducing the first flexible fuel vehicle in 1994 and to date, has put more than two million ethanol capable vehicles on the road. Ford has been joined by General Motors and Daimler Chrysler in a commitment to make over 50 percent of its models FFV capable by 2012, provided the infrastructure of production and distribution is in place to support those vehicles.
A year ago, fewer than 700 of the nation's fuel stations offered E85. That number has grown to over 1,100, but remains less than one percent of the 170,000 fuel stations in the U.S. Magleby also noted a viable business model for increased usage of E85 must include a fuel price differential at the pump.
“E85 must be priced lower than gasoline to provide the value that would encourage consumers to fill up with E85,” said Magleby. “Value pricing would support repeat customers and make ethanol a competitive alternative fuel. To grow the use of alternative fuel requires the support of all of the stakeholders, including fuel producers and distributors, retail fuel providers, automakers, the government and consumers.”
Ford currently offers four flexible fuel vehicles, the 2007 F-150, Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car. Consumers who want to learn more about the benefits of E85 and find E85 stations can visit www.E85fuel.com.
For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.fordvehicles.com.