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Ethanol-Powered Ford Hybrids Broaden Use Of Alternative Energy In Missouri

Ford Motor Company delivered today four of its demonstration fleet of ethanol-fueled hybrids to the State of Missouri and the Kansas City Power & Light at Ford's Kansas City Plant, home of the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrid vehicles. The use of the vehicles will help expand the state's use of alternative energy.

The Ford E85 Escape Hybrid is the world's first hybrid vehicle capable of operating on blends of fuel containing as much as 85 percent ethanol-- a renewable fuel that can be produced from American-grown corn or sugar beets. A total of 20 Ford E85 Escape Hybrids will be delivered to select fleet customers in six states, staking Ford's claim to another important industry first.

"As a leader in both hybrid vehicles and in vehicles capable of operating on ethanol-based fuels, Ford is the ideal company to bring both technologies together for the first time," said Nancy Gioia, director, Sustainable Mobility Technology, Ford Motor Company. "This innovative research represents one of many projects we have at Ford to address our customers desire for a fuel efficient product that meet all of their functional needs, while working on reducing our nation's dependence on oil imports and helping to address global climate change."

Kansas City Power & Light's E85 Escape Hybrids will be used by one of its field design groups that work in the company's service territory. They'll be used in urban settings, primarily to take advantage of the hybrids abilities in city driving settings.

"Great Plains Energy's environmental strategy is aggressively pursuing the use of renewables," said Michael Chesser, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Great Plains Energy. "We are pleased to be among the first to take advantage of the flexibility of a hybrid vehicle that uses E85 fuel. Our current biofuel program has already offset approximately 20 percent of our gasoline usage and these Ford vehicles will advance our long-term commitment to a diversified fleet."

"My administration has and will continue to strongly encourage the use of these environmentally-friendly technologies," said Gov. Matt Blunt. "The use of renewable fuels improves our environment and the air we breathe. With old-fashioned American ingenuity, like that displayed by the Ford Motor Company, we can become more energy independent. Our state is doing our part to look for alternative fuels to help lessen America's dependence on foreign oil. The more clean-burning, renewable fuel Missouri produces and uses, the better off we will all be in the long-term."

The E85 Escape Hybrid produces about 25 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gasoline-fueled Escape Hybrid. It also runs on a renewable fuel, which can help reduce this nation's dependence on imported oil.

If all of the more than six million flexible fuel vehicles now on America's highways operated on E85, more than 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline could be displaced a year. For its part, Ford has committed to making half of its annual vehicle production capable of running on alternative fuels by 2012.

A major challenge in the promotion of renewable fuel use is availability of infrastructure. Less than 1 percent of the 170,000 retail gas stations in the country carry E85 ethanol. Expanding the availability of E85 is a critical element in moving America toward energy independence.

Ford, in partnership with MFA Oil in Missouri and Vera Sun Energy in Illinois, last year launched the nation's first ethanol corridor. The Midwest Ethanol Corridor expands E85 availability in stations located primarily along I-55 in Illinois and I-70 in Missouri by converting gasoline pumps to E85.

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