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. US Automakers Press Bush On Ethanol

All three automakers have committed to making half of their vehicles capable of running on either biofuel or fuel with an 85 percent ethanol content (E85) by 2012 as a means of reducing gasoline consumption. There are currently more than six million flexible fuel vehicles on US roads capable of running on gasoline or biofuel, and a million more will be sold in 2007. The automakers said in a statement that those vehicles would displace more than 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline a year if they were running on E85.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) March 26, 2007
The chiefs of the Big Three US automakers pressed President George W. Bush Monday to create more government incentives for the development of ethanol and other biofuels.

Notably absent from the discussion however was much talk on improving fuel economy standards and little time was devoted to other alternative fuels such as hybrid electric technology or hydrogen-powered vehicles.

"From the beginning, the focus was placed squarely on biofuel and ethanol," General Motors Corp. spokesman Greg Martin told AFP.

"(Corporate Average Fuel Economy) only came up in the sense that the automakers believe if there is CAFE reform it's better done through regulatory and rulemaking processes," he said.

Bush proposed a significant tightening in fuel economy standards in his January State of the Union address, which Martin described as a "significant hurdle" -- both economically and technically.

GM, Ford and the Chrysler Group did ask the president to expand funding for the development of batteries which could be used for plug-in hybrid vehicles, noting that both Japan and Korea already have invested several hundred million dollars in the technology.

Much more time was spent discussing the benefits of ethanol and the need for more government incentives to produce and distribute biofuels.

Speaking on the south lawn of the White House, Bush pressed Congress to adopt his plan to fund further research into developing ethanol produced from wood chips or switchgrass. It is currently primarily made with corn.

"It's in our national security interest that we do this. It's in our economic security interest we do it," he said. "It will help us be better stewards of the environment."

All three automakers have committed to making half of their vehicles capable of running on either biofuel or fuel with an 85 percent ethanol content (E85) by 2012 as a means of reducing gasoline consumption.

There are currently more than six million flexible fuel vehicles on US roads capable of running on gasoline or biofuel, and a million more will be sold in 2007.

The automakers said in a statement that those vehicles would displace more than 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline a year if they were running on E85.

"Right now there are approximately 1,100 E85 pumps in the United States and 1,000 biodiesel pumps, out of 170,000 gas stations," the automakers said in a joint statement.

"We expressed to the president that we are willing to lead the way, but we need government and fuel providers to increase infrastructure before we can make a meaningful impact."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Boeing Prepares Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane For Ground And Flight Testing
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Mar 28, 2007
In an effort to develop environmentally progressive technologies for aerospace applications, Boeing researchers and industry partners throughout Europe plan to conduct experimental flight tests this year of a manned airplane powered only by a fuel cell and lightweight batteries.

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