The three major US automakers—Chrysler, Ford and GM—today announced plans to double annual production of vehicles capable of running on renewable fuels to two million cars and trucks by 2010.
The pledge toward more flex-fuel vehicles that can use E85 ethanol or biodiesel came in a letter to all Members of Congress from Chrysler Group President and CEO, Tom LaSorda; Ford Motor Company Chairman and CEO, Bill Ford; and General Motors Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner.
We need business and government to work together to enhance the production, distribution and use of renewable biofuels. Our hope is that with this commitment, fuel providers will have even more incentive to produce ethanol and other biofuels and install pumps to distribute them.
Currently, there are more than 5 million flex fuel vehicles on the road and the three domestic automotive companies will add an additional million cars and trucks this year alone. If all of these vehicles were running on E85, they would displace more than 3.5 billion gallons of gasoline a year, according to the companies.
Vehicles alone will not get the job done. To capitalize on this commitment, Congress and the Administration need to continue to promote the production of biofuels, increase incentives for refueling infrastructure, and continue incentives for automakers to produce biofuel vehicles.
Eventually, we need to get to the point where most Americans have reasonable access to these fuels at a price that is competitive with gasoline. Without this alternative fuel infrastructure, the US could miss the opportunity to displace gasoline with homegrown and produced biofuels.
Currently, there are only about 700 E85 pumps among the nation’s 170,000 gas stations.
The three automakers have endorsed the Energy Future Coalition’s goal of getting 25% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2025.