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Flex fuel

Automakers, Bush administration push flex-fuel cars while ignoring electric vehicles

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: flex fuel, ethanol, health news


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(NewsTarget) President Bush joined with representatives of Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler earlier this year to highlight "flex-fuel" vehicles that are capable of running on either conventional gasoline or high-ethanol blends. The "Big Three" automakers have pledged to double the number of flex-fuel vehicles that they produce by 2010, and to make half of their fleets flex-fuel by 2012. Bush praised these promises as an important step toward weaning the United States off its dependence on foreign oil supplies.

"If you want to reduce gasoline usage, like I believe we need to do so for national security reasons as well as for environmental concerns, the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice," Bush said. "And so I appreciate very much the fact that American automobile manufacturers recognize the reality of the world in which we live and are using new technologies to give the consumers different options."

The Big Three made their 2012 pledge contingent upon the existence by then of a nationwide infrastructure to deliver the high ethanol blend, called E-85 (a reference to the fact that it is 85 percent ethanol). To date, there are only 1,100 E-85 pumps and 1,000 biodiesel pumps in the United States.

Many environmentalists were less than impressed.

"The push for ethanol fuels is an energy hoax. It takes more fossil fuels to grow, harvest, process and distribute ethanol than are replaced by it," said consumer advocate Mike Adams.

"All this talk about flex-fuel vehicles is a gimmick used by companies and politicians who want to sound green when they are taking no real action to fundamentally reduce our nation's dependence on fossil fuels," Adams said. "Big American car companies remain so blindly dedicated to the combustion engine that they will one day find themselves irrelevant, overtaken by clean electric vehicles that are cheaper to operate and safer for the environment."

Meanwhile, the Sierra Club accused U.S. automakers of using flex-fuel vehicles as a gimmick to distract attention from their refusal to raise fuel efficiency.

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