Astonishing for USA Today to run a story with a picture of the President at a plug-in vehicle’s socket yet a headline about “flex-fuel”? No, the story comes from DETROIT.
Bush, automakers pump ‘flex-fuel’
Justin Hyde, March 26, 2007 (Detroit Free Press via USA Today)
CEOs of General Motors, Ford Motor, the Chrysler Group, President Bush
A 45-minute meeting in which Bush reiterated support for using more ethanol and other renewable fuels. After the meeting, the CEOs showed off alternative-fuel models: Ford's Edge HySeries hydrogen plug-in hybrid concept, an E85-capable Chevrolet Impala and a diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee fueled with 5% biodiesel, a mix of 95% petroleum-based diesel and 5% diesel made without petroleum. (Ford has no plans to manufacture the Edge HySeries but hopes to use a similar drivetrain in some other vehicle in the future.)
- The CEOs told the president that half the vehicles they manufacture will be compatible with E85 fuel, a blend of 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol, by 2012.
The meeting took place at the White House and was followed by photo-ops at a display of alternative fuel vehicles on the White House driveway.
- The president's 20 in 10 plan would cut U.S. gasoline consumption 20% in 10 years by using more non-petroleum fuels such as ethanol, and boosting fuel economy standards.
- Ethanol has less energy than gasoline, so vehicles get worse fuel economy running on E85. Federal fuel-economy regulations give automakers extra mileage credit for ethanol-compatible vehicles, called flexible-fuel vehicles, to help balance that.
- Joan Claybrook, head of Public Citizen, says, "Automakers fool consumers into thinking they are helping the environment and lessening our dependency on foreign oil, while they manipulate the (fuel economy) loophole, avoid meeting federal fuel economy standards and laugh their way to the bank."
- "We are absolutely on the edge of being able to move into a new era with flex-fuel, a lot of developments in batteries and hybrids," said GM CEO Rick Wagoner. "We ought to stick with that and play it hard. This is a real opportunity."
Lots more on alternative fuel vehicles at Green Cars and at Plugs and Cars