Alabama State Vehicles Switch to E-85

January 30, 2007

At a news conference January 25, Alabama Governor Bob Riley announced that the state is switching the majority of its vehicle fleet to E-85. The move is one of many recent efforts to promote biofuels and support Alabama’s agricultural economy.

Riley said that the state is spending $324,000 to install a 12,000-gallon E-85 fuel tank and two pumps at the state motor pool facility. The 207-vehicle motor pool has 132 flexible fuel vehicles that can operate on ethanol, gasoline, or any mixture of the two fuels. The fueling equipment is expected to start operating in May. Additionally, the motor pool intends to purchase only flex fuel vehicles in the future.

Alternative fuel pumps will also be installed at the state Department of Transportation's (DOT’s) fuel stations, Riley said. About 2,000 of DOT's 3,000 vehicles can use alternative fuels.

Alabama is also working to better supply the general public with alternative fuels. The state is working with Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee to create a clean fuels corridor from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is taking applications for commercial stations along Interstate 65 that want to offer alternative fuels. A federal grant of $312,000 will help six stations add E-85 pumps and five stations install B-20 biodiesel pumps. The grant followed President Bush's visit to Hoover in September 2006 to see how the city uses alternative fuels for its police department.

Riley was joined Thursday by David Bransby, an Auburn University professor who conducts research in alternative fuels. Bransby said the availability of timber and switchgrass in the Southeast is putting the region at the forefront of developing alternative fuels from those products. "The Southeast is the Saudi Arabia of the cellulosic biofuels," he said.

Riley said, "E-85 is good for agriculture because it’s made from crops grown by our farmers, so it’s a real growth opportunity for Alabama’s rural economy."

Bransby predicted that state efforts to promote biofuels, including the recent creation of the Center for Alternative Fuels at the state agriculture department in November 2006, would help Alabama put the southeast region at the forefront of developing alternative fuels from biomass. To read more about the establishment of the Center for Alternative Fuels, see the December 4, 2006 article on the EERE Web site.

For more information on Alabama’s switch to ethanol, go to the governor’s January 25 press release.

Source: January 25 Associated Press article picked up by BusinessWeek