State vehicles to use better fuel

Published 5:39 am Monday, February 5, 2007

By Staff
Special to the Standard
Gov. Bob Riley promoted Alabama's efforts to develop and use alternative fuels recently during a visit to the State Motor Pool, where an E-85 ethanol refueling station is being built. 
Construction of the 12,000 gallon E-85 tank and two fueling pumps began this week and is scheduled to be finished in early May.  E-85 is a cleaner burning mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.  The fuel can be used in &#8220flex fuel” vehicles that are capable of running on either E-85 or conventional gasoline.  The refueling station at the Motor Pool will be able to serve all state agencies as well as the Motor Pool fleet. 
Of the 207 vehicles at the State Motor Pool, 132 are currently flex fuel.  Approximately 2,000 of the 3,000 vehicles operated by the Alabama Department of Transportation are also flex fuel vehicles. 
Riley said Alabama is &#8220well positioned” to become a national leader in the development and use of alternative fuels because of its strong agricultural base and abundance of natural resources.  The state is also the home of one of the nation's recognized authorities on biofuel alternatives, Dr. David Bransby, a professor at Auburn University. 
In October 2006, Riley announced Alabama had been awarded a federal grant to add pumps for E-85 ethanol fuel at six Alabama gas stations and B-20 biodiesel fuel at five stations along Interstate 65.  The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition partnered with the states of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee to secure the grant and provide motorists with a &#8220clean fuels corridor” from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.  The grant funds will cover up to 50 percent of the cost for a retailer to add the infrastructure necessary to offer the alternative fuel.
The federal government also offers a 30 percent tax credit for installation of alternative fuel stations, up to a maximum of $30,000 per year.  In Plan 2010, Riley said he would propose the &#8220Alabama Farms and Fuels Act,” which seeks to provide tax incentives for the production of biofuels in the state and for the purchase of hybrid and flex fuel vehicles.
Biodiesel is produced from soybean and other crops that produce oil and can be used in conventional compression-ignition engines like diesels without engine modifications. Ethanol is a distilled alcohol-based fuel that is derived from starch crops like corn and mixed with gasoline to fuel vehicles.

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