There are over 300,000 flex-fuel cars in California, yet just one E85 fueling station. Doesn't make much sense, does it? Moving to address the imbalance, the Department of Energy has granted funding to a group that includes CALSTART, GM, Pacific Ethanol and United Oil among others to begin the construction of an ethanol infrastructure in the Golden State.

The press release doesn't reveal how much funding is available, however, the initial round will pay for a portion of the construction of ten E85 pumps at existing gas stations owned by United Oil in the Los Angeles area. Four more pumps will be installed along Highway 101 from Ventura to San Luis Obispo while the last will be installed in San Joaquin Valley.

Fuel for the pumps will be produced in California by Pacific Ethanol whose headquarters are located in Madera, CA. There are currently three ethanol plants in the state with four more on the way. By the end of 2008, California's ethanol production is projected to reach 400 million gallons per year which should provide enough ethanol to meet demand from the new E85 pumps.

Getting a foothold in California is a smart move for almost any aspect of the auto industry as the state contains 10 percent of the nation's vehicles. We'll certainly be keeping a close watch to see just how the ethanol network pans out in a coastal state.

[Source: CALSTART]


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