State setting good example with ethanol

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2007

Gov. Bob Riley announced yesterday that the state will switch its fleet of vehicles to ethanol and work to make it easier for consumers to find alternative fuels.

The governor arrived at the press conference at which he made the announcement in a &uot;flex fuel&uot; vehicle. There are 132 such vehicles in the state’s pool of 207 vehicles provided for employees to use on trips across the state. A 12,000-gallon E-85 fuel tank and two pumps are to be installed at the motor pool by May.

Similar steps will follow at the Department of Transportation, where 2,000 of its 3,000 vehicles are flex fuel capable. Riley said.

Meanwhile, ADECA is taking applications for federal funds commercial stations along Interstate 65 that want to offer alternative fuels to add E-85 ethanol pumps. or B-20 biodiesel pumps.

E-85 is 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol, which is derived from starch crops like corn. Biodiesel is made from soybeans and other crops that produce oil and can be used in conventional diesel engines.

This makes even more sense because the crops from which these fuels are made are easily grown in Alabama. Widespread use could not only reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, but also stimulate our economy.

As an Auburn professor put it, &uot;The Southeast is the Saudi Arabia of the cellulosic biofuels.&uot;

We salute the Gov. Riley and Ag Commissioner Ron Sparks for their leadership on this project. The state is setting a good example for all of us. – The Andalusia Star News