The announcement was made today at an event at Major League Baseball All- Star FanFest, the largest baseball fan event in the nation held annually in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game. Chevrolet, as sponsor and the official vehicle of MLB, is promoting E85 ethanol-based fuel in various ways throughout the All-Star Week festivities.
Presiding over the event, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell said, "One of the biggest obstacles to greater use of E85 ethanol is availability -- especially at the retail level. Here in Pennsylvania, we are leading the charge to greater accessibility as the first state in the Northeast to open publicly available retail E85 stations. Today I am proud to preside over the opening of yet another thanks to this commitment by GM, VeraSun and Sheetz. This is a good step forward and we commend them on their efforts to increase awareness of this viable alternative fuel and help drive consumer demand in our state. I also commend Chevrolet and Major League Baseball on its promotion of E85 ethanol-based fuel in Pittsburgh during events surrounding the 77th MLB All-Star Game."
GM has been the catalyst behind several similar collaborative partnerships across the country and began an initiative with VeraSun in February as part of a broader, national campaign to boost the use and awareness of E85 -- a fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline -- in the United States.
"GM already has more than two million vehicles on the road today that are capable of using E85 ethanol fuel," said Elizabeth Lowery, GM vice president of environment and energy. "We appreciate VeraSun and Sheetz for joining our efforts to make this great fuel alternative available to more people in Pittsburgh. We also appreciate the support of Gov. Rendell and the State of Pennsylvania as we continue to promote the use of E85 ethanol and its many benefits for the environment, the economy and consumers."
VeraSun Energy, the nation's second-largest ethanol producer, will be supplying its brand of E85, VE85(TM) to select Sheetz stores in the Pittsburgh area beginning this week at its new Pleasant Hills location (on Route 51 and Lewis Run Road) and expanding to two additional stores by later this year.
"We are excited to continue to expand our partnership with General Motors and to welcome a new retail partner, Sheetz, in making VE85(TM) available to consumers in Pittsburgh," said Bill Honnef, VeraSun senior vice president, sales and marketing. "We would like to thank GM, Sheetz, Gov. Rendell and the State of Pennsylvania for their leadership in working with VeraSun to increase the availability of E85 and promote the many benefits of using this domestically-produced, renewable fuel."
Sheetz, based in Altoona, Pa., is one of America's fastest-growing family- owned and operated convenience store chains with more than $3.4 billion in revenue in 2005, 322 locations and more than 10,000 employees.
"Sheetz is proud to be the first large retail chain in the state of Pennsylvania to offer customers VeraSun's E85 as an alternative fuel choice," said Louie Sheetz, executive vice president of marketing, Sheetz. "We thank VeraSun for helping us make this homegrown, renewable fuel available to our customers. We also appreciate the support of Gov. Rendell, GM and our partners in promoting E85's availability and working to increase consumer awareness."
Commenting on today's announcement, Ed Wall program manager, FreedomCar and Vehicle Technology, U.S. Department of Energy said, "Not all the all-stars are on the field at PNC Park for the 77th Major League Baseball All-Star Game. DOE congratulates today's winning all-star team of GM, VeraSun and Sheetz. Each player on this team is dedicated to creating an energy secure and environmentally responsible nation. These are true American heroes and we thank them for hitting a home run for our nation's future."
"Together with leaders like GM, our nation is meeting President Bush's energy goals," added EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "By investing in cleaner-burning renewable fuels made from domestic crops, we are hitting a home run for the environment, our economy, and our energy security."
Today's announcement marks the fourth collaboration in four states that GM and VeraSun have entered with a third-party retailer since the companies began working together to promote awareness of E85 ethanol-based fuel. The first initiative, launched last May in Sioux Falls, S.D., promoted VE85(TM) pumps in seven prominent local stations. In the Chicago metro area, what began as a 20-location effort in February has already expanded to include 32 sites, and the initial four outlets in Minneapolis-St. Paul have grown to 16 in the last four months.
"The success of our partnership with VeraSun is evident by the dramatic rise in stations carrying the alternative fuel," said Lowery. "Americans are clearly recognizing the multiple benefits of using E85."
General Motors will continue to spend significant advertising and promotion dollars to help generate awareness of E85 flexible fuel vehicles -- and where consumers can purchase E85 ethanol -- with consumer marketing initiatives and dealer outreach. The effort is similar to announcements GM has already made with other state government, oil industry, ethanol producers, and retail partners in California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Texas. Since May 2005, GM has announced partnerships with states and fuel providers around the country to locate, to date, over 160 new E85 ethanol fueling locations.
Chevrolet and Major League Baseball Promote E85 Ethanol-Based Fuel at Major League Baseball All-Star Week Events in Pittsburgh
Chevrolet is promoting E85 ethanol-based fuel throughout the All-Star Week festivities, including working in cooperation with the MLB in the use of over 100 E85-fueled Chevy Avalanches, Suburbans, Tahoes and Impalas to support All- Star Week activities.
At this year's Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Chevrolet and MLB will engage consumers on the importance of E85 ethanol as an alternative fuel during a series of promotional events. Chevrolet, the presenting sponsor of the prestigious Ted Williams All-Star Game MVP trophy, will also present the winner with the keys to the E85-capable Chevy vehicle of his choice on-field immediately following the game.
E85 flexible fuel vehicles can run on any combination of gasoline and/or E85 ethanol, a fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E85 ethanol can contribute to energy independence because it diversifies the source of transportation fuels beyond petroleum, and it provides positive environmental benefits in the form of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
GM is a leader in flexible-fuel vehicle production and sales. For the 2006 model year, GM offers nine E85 flexible fuel vehicles, including the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Avalanche, Chevrolet Impala, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. GM also plans to add more than 400,000 E85-capable vehicles to the fleet in 2006. At the same time, worldwide production of ethanol is increasing every year, and is expected to triple by 2020.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.
VeraSun Energy Corporation is the second-largest ethanol producer in the U.S., based on production. The company has two operating production facilities located in Aurora, South Dakota and Fort Dodge, Iowa, is constructing a third facility in Charles City, Iowa, and has two additional facilities under development in Welcome, Minnesota and Northwestern Iowa. Upon completion of the new facilities, VeraSun will have an annual production capacity of approximately 560 million gallons of ethanol per year.