GM has produced more FFV (flex fuel vehicles) than any other car maker. A FFV is capable of running on E85 which is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Any car can run on E10 which is 10% ethanol. To date GM has 2.5 million flex fuel vehicles on the roads in North America.
If someone said they could produce ethanol for less than $1.00 a gallon then those flex fuel GM cars would suddenly become more valuable. More valuable because they save on fuel costs but also because of the smugness factor of significantly reducing the need for foreign oil and reducing emissions. If the real cost of a vehicle is the difference between the purchase price and the resale value over time then suddenly the whole GM fleet, used and new FFV, is more valuable.
As noted in a previous post GM and Coskata have teamed up to produce ethanol from syngas using microbes. Showing great confidence in their technology, GM and Coskata are moving rapidly to bring their product to market.
On the same day that Coskata Inc. announced it has engaged ICM Inc. to build its first biomass-powered ethanol plant, GM North America President Troy Clarke announced the automaker’s plans to fuel half of its domestic fleet with E85 by 2012. That’s two years after Coskata plans to have mass-produced cellulosic ethanol on the market–fuel it says it can produce for under $1 per gallon using locally available waste materials.
"GM is pursuing a range of options to remove the automobile from the energy debate,” said Alan Adler, biofuels communication manager for GM. “We feel ethanol, specifically E85, is the best near-term solution to the nation’s dependence on petroleum." Source.
Many car owners would have to look in their car manual to see if their vehicle is flex fuel. That was then and this is now. Watch for flex fuel to be prominently displayed in advertising.