LOS ANGELES: Today marks another milestone in California's drive to diversify its energy sources with Brentwood celebrating a new E85 station funded in part by a $580,000 grant from the Air Resources Board.
The new station, developed by Santa Barbara's non-profit Community Environmental Council, is California's second open to the public and the first of five to be built with the grant money.
"Ethanol will play a key role in California's clean, renewable fuels future," said Mary Nichols, Chairman of the Air Resources Board. "This station will allow the many flexible fuel vehicles already on the road to take advantage of this renewable fuel."
The $580,000 grant is part of an incentive program created by Assembly Bill 1811, authored by Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) and passed in 2006. The Alternative Fuels Incentive Program distributed its $25 million in June, 2007, to encourage public awareness and adoption of newly available technologies already reducing pollution and diversifying the state's energy sources. The program's strategies include:
More than 300,000 vehicles already on the road in California are capable of using E85. These vehicles, known as flexible fuel vehicles, can use a mixture of up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent petroleum. They are not limited to this fuel, as they can also mix in conventional gasoline with any E85 already in the tank.
Flexible Fuel Vehicles already on the road include: Ford Taurus and Explorer; Chrysler Sebring; Dodge Stratus; Mercury Mountaineer; Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo, Avalanche Suburban and Tahoe; GMC Yukon; Mercedes Benz C320; and, the Saturn Relay.
E85 has many benefits compared to petroleum based fuels. It offers an alternate source of energy which alleviates problems of scarcity and dependence on foreign trade. It burns cleaner, resulting in fewer smog forming emissions. And, ethanol is produced from sources that can be replenished.
Presently, ethanol is primarily made from corn but it can be produced other ways. One process which has great environmental promise is cellulosic production. This process derives ethanol from vegetation waste, such as that from rice farming. Cellulosic ethanol promises to provide energy with little or no greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information on the program go to: http://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/altfuels/incentives/incentives.htm .
The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.