Coinciding with a recent letter from a pair of U.S. senators, and a speech from President Bush, the Chrysler Group is expected to announce a boost in its ethanol ready engine production.
In their letter, senators, Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin and Indiana Republican Richard Lugar wrote, “We are very eager to work with you to clear any impediments. However, since you are already producing these vehicles, or hybrids or other advanced technology vehicles, it would seem to us that not only can you build many more FFVs [Fuel-Friendly Vehicles] it would be in your business interest to do so.”
Chrysler has already committed significant resources to the cause, and has said they intend to make a full 25 per cent of every vehicle they make, ethanol friendly by 2008.
One significant stumbling block in the road to widespread ethanol use is general public availability.
According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, there are currently, only 681 gas stations, mostly in the Midwest, supplying ethanol based fuels; and while that number is expected to rise, general ease of purchase will remain a major issue.
In the article, Tom Libby, the senior director of industry analysis at J.D. Power noted, “The consumer has to feel, has to perceive that there’s going to be the same availability of ethanol as regular fuel, and we’re nowhere near that point yet.”
Ethanol fuel is a mixture of usually about 85 per cent ethanol obtained from corn, and 15 per cent conventional gasoline.
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