INDIANAPOLIS , IN - Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today praised and promoted the expanded use and availability of ethanol-based fuel during two events in Indianapolis. Expanding the use of ethanol, specifically cellulosic ethanol, is a key component of President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI), which seeks to reduce our reliance on foreign oil by 5 million barrels per day by 2025.
"Flexible fuel vehicles and E85 are proven options for substituting a clean burning renewable fuel for gasoline, and I believe it should be our common goal that E85 become a nationwide fueling option," Secretary Bodman said. "I want to thank Governor Daniels, Lt. Governor Skillman, GM and Meijer for their commitment to this goal. Efforts like these - to educate the public and expand the network of stations that can deliver E85 fuel - will help us meet the President's goal to reduce our reliance on foreign sources of oil."
Secretary Bodman's first event was with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and GM and Meijer executives to announce plans to add additional E85 fuel pumps at up to 20 Meijer Stores' fueling stations. Currently, about six million vehicles on the road today that can use E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, and 656 filling stations in the U.S. dispense E85 fuel, up from less than 100 in 2001.
"Indiana is rapidly emerging as a producer of renewable fuels. That must be matched by greater availability and convenience for consumers," Governor Daniels said. "The commitment by GM and Meijer is a big leap forward on the demand side, and we're hopeful others will follow suit."
Secretary Bodman then spent the afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500, as part of "Ethanol Day." Beginning this year, all vehicles in the IndyCar Series will be fueled by ten percent ethanol-enriched fuel. Starting next season, all vehicles will switch to 100 percent ethanol. Race car engines operating on ethanol have demonstrated excellent performance due to the fuel's high octane content. Pure ethanol has 113-octane as compared to 87 to 92 percent for gasoline.
At both events, the Secretary discussed President Bush's AEI and the need for the Department of Energy and industry to continue working to develop alternatives to petroleum. The AEI represents a 22 percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy and will accelerate breakthroughs in how we power our homes, businesses, and automobiles.
Through investments in transportation technology, the AEI will allow the greater use of "homegrown" ethanol made from cellulosic biomass, which is now discarded as waste. The funding will make ethanol feedstocks such as wood chips, corn stover (stalks) or switch grass cost-competitive by 2012. Also the AEI will accelerate research in the next generation of battery technology for hybrid vehicles and "plug-in hybrids." The Initiative also continues President Bush's commitment to develop technology for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells, which could power cars and trucks with no pollution or greenhouse gases.
Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940