Ford Motor and VeraSun Energy, the second-largest U.S. ethanol producer, today announced a partnership to grow the consumer infrastructure for E85 fuel in 2006.
Ford is promising to produce at least 250,000 flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) in 2006, adding four new models to its FFV catalog - the Ford F-150, Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car. The company is currently launching a "green" media blitz, which started this week in Washington.

There are currently about five million FFVs on the road, but only about 500 of the more than 180,000 "fuel stations" (guess we can't call them "gas" stations any more) in the country currently offer E85. Incredibly, VeraSun's Bill Honnef, VP Sales and Marketing, says, "Our research indicates that nearly 70 percent of flexible fuel vehicle owners are unaware they are driving one." (FFVs will happily run on any mix of ethanol and gasoline, ranging from 100 percent gas to 85 percent ethanol.)

Ford and VeraSun plan to convert retail gas pumps to VE85 (VeraSun's branded E85 product) in 2006, and to launch a consumer awareness campaign. No word on how many retail outlets will be converted, but it's likely that most will be in the Midwest, where ethanol is most readily available.

[Source: Ford]

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