2012 Ford Focus to be FFV

The 2012 Ford Focus will receive up to 40 mpg using E10 and will also be able to run on E85. The 2.0-liter engine will combine the technology of gasoline direct injection with twin independent variable camshaft timing and E85 flexible fuel capability.

Ford notes that the direct injection improves fuel economy and performance by delivering the exact amount of gasoline right into the combustion chamber. The engine can operate at a high 12:1 compression ratio, compared with the 2011 Focus’ engine’s 10:1 ratio, further enhancing power and efficiency. And unlike most competitive direct injection systems, the engine will be E85 flex fuel-capable.

The new Focus will be among the global leaders in fuel economy and CO2 emissions,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “We will continue to pioneer new technologies beyond launch, including the zero-emissions Focus Electric BEV launching in North America in 2011. Throughout its life cycle, Focus in all forms, in all regions, will demonstrate the Ford commitment to deliver unsurpassed fuel economy on a truly global scale.”

Ford’s 2011 flexible fuel vehicle line includes the Crown Victoria, E-Series Van, Escape, Expedition, F-150 and Super Duty. Their Lincoln FFV line includes the Navigator and Town Car. Mercury’s 2011 FFVs are the Grand Marquis, Mariner and Milan.

Anti-Ethanol Camp Exit Tents Prepared to Attack

The anti-ethanol camp has exited their tents today to hold a press conference against the suggested changes to VEETC and the ethanol tariff that the ethanol industry proposed last week. In response, the four organizations that are leading the charge to create a new road map for ethanol have jointly responded to the attack.

In a statement released today from the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) the groups focused on ethanol’s successes and benefits. “America’s ethanol industry has been an undeniable success, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and reducing our nation’s reliance on foreign oil. These groups that have repeatedly attacked ethanol without validation would leave America with just one course of action: increasing our addiction to foreign oil.”

The groups continued by pointing out that ethanol has ‘paid dividends’ and ‘returns more to the federal government in the form of tax revenue than is spent in investment’. They also noted that ethanol has helped the country save billions of dollars in foreign oil expense.

“Constantly pining for fictional fuels or seeking to keep America hooked on the oil standard runs contrary to the desire most Americans have to become energy independent. Instead of facts or new approaches, these groups are recycling tired rhetoric that does nothing to help solve America’s energy problems,” the statement continued. Continue reading

Oct. 15th is National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day

The National Alternative Fuel Vehicles Training Consortium (NAFTC), located at the University of Virginia, is kicking off its annual National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey in New York City Union Square on October 14, 2010. The official AFV Day is October 15th. The event was created in 2002 to create consumer awareness about alternative fuels and the vehicles that can run on them. This year the goal is to have more than 125 events planned throughout the U.S. and Canada with 200,000 people attending and reach more than 75 million drivers in North America through media outreach. In addition, Odyssey is also reaching out to secondary schools.

In an interview with Ethanol Producer magazine, NAFTC executive director Al Ebron said, “Even if you reach that many people but only some of them hear the message, that’s still millions of people that are learning about these cleaner technologies and new technologies that can reduce our dependence on petroleum and help clean our air.”

Many of the companies that are participating in the nationwide events will be hosting pump promotions that will reduce the price of alternative fuels. One such partner is Propel Fuels, who is planning on offering $1 off per gallon on both E85 and biodiesel and five of its San Francisco fuel stations. Within the next two years, Propel will install 200 combined E85/biodiesel fueling stations throughout the West Coast.

You can learn more about the events near by visiting Odyssey’s website.

‘Be True to Your Fuel’ Video Contest Kicks Off

Calling all college students in the state of Iowa. The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board have launched a “Be True to Your Fuel” video contest that encourages students to show their spirit for corn ethanol, E85 and flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). The contest is part of ICGA’s 2010 GameDay GiveAway promotions and activities that are taking place in the state through the end of the year.

The contest is open to any Iowa State or University of Iowa students and the 30 second videos are due by November 5th. While your creativity is unlimited, the video must have a positive message about corn ethanol, E85 or FFVs and their impacts on the state of Iowa.

“Iowa Corn is proud to partner with Iowa and Iowa State Universities on the GameDay events that promote flexible fuel vehicles and corn fed ethanol,” says Shannon Textor, Iowa Corn Market Development Director. “We want everyone in the state to share in our enthusiasm for fuel that comes directly from Iowa farmers and our neighborhood ethanol plants.”

All submitted videos will be subject to final review by Iowa Corn before being posted on YouTube®. From all entries submitted, three videos will be selected as finalists by a panel of judges and the finalists will be notified by November 8, 2010. From there, the winner will be chosen based on voting from November 12 through November 26, 2010.

The winning video will be shown during the Iowa-Iowa State men’s basketball game. Several prizes will be awarded including a grand prize of $5,000; second prize of $2,500 and third prize of $1,000.

The GameDay GiveAway promotions include radio, TV, internet, and on-site marketing and is designed to highlight the many uses for corn as well as corn’s positive impact on Iowa. For a detailed description of the contest visit www.iacornfed.com.

DF Cast: Cal. Grants for Ethanol, Biodiesel Infrastructure

It’s an issue we’ve talked about before … plenty of ethanol and biodiesel and vehicles that can burn the green fuels but not enough infrastructure to support those cars’ and trucks’ needs. But a little help from the government is changing that in one of the largest concentrations of privately-owned vehicles … and incidently, one of the largest concentrations of flex-fuel vehicles in the country … California.

Matt Horton is the CEO of Propel Fuels, a California-based company that provides E85 ethanol and biodiesel to existing stations. He says having the types of pumps that can handle those fuels is biggest problem.

“One of the key challenges in the alternative fuels and biofuels market in particular being the lack of infrastructure to provide everyday customers with access to the fuels.”

He says there are plenty of flex-fuel vehicles that can burn E85 ethanol and plenty of diesel vehicles able to use biodiesel. But the infrastructure to provide these biofuels and the public’s awareness that they can use ethanol in their flex-fuel vehicle are lacking. To fix that, Propel has received $11 million in state and federal grants to put in 75 E85 ethanol pumps in California. Anthony Eggert sits on the California Energy Commission (CEC). He says the state’s portion of the money … about four million dollars … comes from California’s Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology program … also known as AB 118, named for the enabling legislation that created it. He justifies the tax money spent on this program as just a drop in the bucket compared to what consumers have to spend on non-renewable, petroleum-based fuels.

“It’s around $100 million per year for the CEC to invest in a portfolio of non-petroleum fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower our petroleum dependency and improving our energy security. In California alone, we spend approximately $150 million per day on gasoline and diesel fuel.” He says the impact on the economy due to volatile fuel prices, as well as environmental issues and the vulnerability to foreign nations that might not always be the friendliest, makes the grant money well spent. Plus, it will pay dividends in the form of new jobs, less foreign oil and more money in consumers’ pockets.

You can listen to the Domestic Fuel Cast here. Domestic Fuel Cast

You can also subscribe to the DomesticFuel Cast here.

Students Learn FFV Conversion Process

Students at North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) are studying the flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) conversion process. As first reported on KMIT.com, by using FlexFuel U.S.’s system, the students are excited to learn how to lessen dependence on foreign oil imports.

“It’s pretty interesting and it’s easy to install too and it’s not really that hard. The hardest thing is the wiring and even then it’s not that hard,” said student Heath Tulp/

The students at NIACC are putting in a supplemental fuel injection system to a vehicle adding fuel as needed so the car can run smoothly on both gas and E85.

Mitch Sremac who invented the system said he created it “To make it easy enough to install by most technicians and be able to keep the car running and meet emission standards.”

NIACC is the first school to study the new conversion system.

Flex Fuel US Can Sell to Fleets

Flex Fuel U.S.®, a company dedicated to the development of future fuel solutions and alternative fuel conversion systems, has been awarded approval to sell and install E85 Flex Fuel conversion systems to Federal Government Fleets through the Federal GSA schedule. The system is the first EPA certified product enabling existing cars and light duty trucks to be legally converted to run any blend of gasoline and ethanol up to E85.

To date Flex Fuel U.S. has the capability to convert the Chrysler Charger/300, the Ford Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis/Town Car vehicles and will soon announce a light duty truck. The product can be installed on the vehicle in 2 hours, requires only moderate technical expertise and doesn’t void the warranty on the vehicle. The product is backed by a 24 month warranty covering defects in parts and materials. The owner is fully protected when using higher concentrations of ethanol in the vehicle.

“We believe this new technology provides a valuable tool for fleet managers because it allows vehicles to be retrofitted into alternative fuel at a very low cost. Also if you need a vehicle that’s not offered from the OEM as flex fuel capable, our system can be used.” says Don Althoff, CEO of Flex Fuel US. “Flex Fuel US has a proven track record of success converting vehicles over the last three years. This includes successful fleet demonstration project at the City of Chicago and one underway through the State of Iowa’s DOE Energy Independence Grant. We have proven we can reliably develop, install, and operate E85 conversion systems across multiple vehicle manufactures and engine platforms.”

Flex Fuel US is rolling out conversion systems to federal, state, and municipal fleets to accelerate conversion of legacy vehicles. “We look forward to developing E85 conversion products on vehicles that are not available in Flex Fuel models such as fuel efficient compacts, hybrids and high performance vehicles.” Says Mitch Sremac, founder and inventor.

Ethanol Groups to Participate in TX Future Conference

Because Texas has the most flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) of any state, a number of industry organizations and companies are getting together to promote ethanol in the Lone Star State next month.

Shaping Texas’ Fuel Ethanol Policy, sponsored by the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA), will be held on September 10 in Austin, Texas. TREIA has been bringing decision makers and industry leaders together in Texas for more than 26 years to build the foundation for developing renewable energy. “This conference offers a clear picture of today’s realities and opportunities in a growing renewable energy sector that some may have written off,” said Russel Smith, Executive Director of TREIA. “The nation’s use of ethanol will continue to increase, and Texas has huge production possibilities and more flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on E85 than any other state. Our current approach to this important industry may leave money on the table.”

Participating in the event are: Growth Energy, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Renewable Fuels Association, ICM, Abengoa Bioenergy and more.

More information on the conference including an agenda can be found online here.

Ethanol Opponents Call for End to Tax Incentives

Seizing on last week’s CBO report and a proposal by Growth Energy to phase out and redirect the blenders tax credit for ethanol (VEETC), several long-time opponents of ethanol renewed their call for an end to all tax incentives for the home-grown fuel.

In a press conference this morning, representatives from the American Meat Institute (AMI), Environmental Working Group (EWG), Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Taxpayers for Common Sense together said that the tax credit should be eliminated at the end of this year when it expires, and the corresponding tariff on imported ethanol should also be ended.

AMI president J. Patrick Boyle claims that the blenders tax credit distorts the corn market and increases the cost of feeding animals. “Thirty years of tax payer support for the corn-based ethanol industry has created a mature industry that now needs to compete fairly in the market place and allow for the next generation of renewable fuels to grow,” said Boyle.

NRDC’s Nathanael Greene called the tax credit a “bribe” for fuel blenders to comply with the Renewable Fuels Standard. “It’s sort of like paying people to obey the speed limit,” Greene said. He also called the VEETC an “environmental problem” that “drives up food prices, encourages agribusiness to pollute our water.”

The groups made it clear that they do not support Growth Energy’s proposal to redirect the tax credit and use it instead to increase blender pumps and flex fuel vehicles, but said that proposal shows the industry recognizes that the tax credit is in jeopardy. Steve Ellis with Taxpayers for Common Sense called Growth Energy’s proposal ironic. “At the same time they talk about a mandate for flex fuel vehicles and for pumps across the country, these are enormous subsidies, and yet they’re talking about a level playing and letting the free market work,” Ellis said. Continue reading

2010 FedFleet Conference Kicks Off in Phoenix

The 10th Annual Federal Fleet Conference kicked off in Phoenix, Arizona this week offering attendees the chance to attend sessions and have the opportunity to visit with exhibition vendors on fleet management and automative procurement.

Over 1,300 participants from all levels of fleet and aviation management within the Federal Government are in attendance. Workshop sessions began on Sunday with a Basic Fleet Class which educated new Federal Fleet management on how to function with the their agency, learn about fleet policies, procedures, mandates, new programs and more. Many workshops followed throughout the week.

The exhibit hall opened on Monday to over 180 companies who can network with other vendors, Federal, State, local government and private sector fleet menagers. Exhibitors included automobile manufacturers, alternative fuel and alternative fuel vehicle promoters and more.

The 2011 FedFleet conference will be held in Orlando, Florida from July 26-28.