State Announces Plans For More Sustainable Transportation Fuel System - Southern Maryland Headline News

State Announces Plans For More Sustainable Transportation Fuel System


Construction set for four State E-85 facilities across Maryland; State to investigate move to electric vehicles

ANNAPOLIS (August 5, 2008) – Governor O’Malley today presented a roadmap for a more sustainable transportation fuel system in Maryland, beginning with the construction of four new E-85 fuel pumps throughout the state. Aimed at advancing Maryland’s energy independence, the plan will combine consumer education, new technologies, and the development of an infrastructure such as the new facilities announced today. The announcement comes on the heels of a plan to transition 500 MTA buses to electric hybrids.

“As the State purchases new vehicles for its fleet, more and more of our cars, trucks and vans will run on alternative fuels,” said Governor O’Malley. “With these new E-85 facilities, we’ll continue to make Maryland’s transportation fleet less dependant on fossil fuels, strengthening the energy future of our State for generations to come. These upfront investments in our alternative fuel infrastructure position Maryland to take advantage of the rapid advances in the next generation of non-food-based ethanol while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

E-85 is a blend of fuel that contains 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable fuel made primarily by distilling grains such as corn, wheat and barley. E-85 also burns cleaner than petroleum gasoline.

Emerging forms of ethanol fuel are made from non-food based crops, like switch grass. These new products promise to be even more affordable while still reducing harmful nitrogen emissions to the Bay by 80-90%. Because it can be produced domestically, E-85 decreases dependence on foreign sources of energy. The U.S. currently imports approximately two-thirds of the petroleum it uses.

“Reducing the State’s dependence on foreign sources of oil has never been a more pressing issue, and greater use of E-85 and other renewable fuels can help us do that,” said Maryland Department of General Services (DGS) Secretary Alvin C. Collins. “With 1,200 flex-fuel vehicles already in the State’s fleet, we are striving to reduce reliance on fossil fuel and its harmful impacts on the environment.”

Governor O’Malley outlined three distinct transportation strategies which he believes will allow Maryland to become more energy independent:

Expansion of Biofuels

Governor O’Malley announced today a mandate for the Department of General Services to use a 5% blend of biodiesel in the State vehicle fleet wherever possible. It’s estimated that a 5% biodiesel blend, statewide, would replace 180 million gallons of diesel fuel, displace 1.4 metric tons of greenhouse gases, and save drivers $20 at the pump – just 5%. The Governor also referenced a study nearly complete on non-food based Maryland crops that are particularly well suited to be converted into ethanol.

Future E-85 facilities announced today are tentatively planned for Easton, Hagerstown, La Plata, and Salisbury. Used by the State transportation fleet, the E-85 pumps will be installed at Maryland State Police barracks or State Highway Administration (SHA) facilities.

DGS oversees the Statewide Automated Fuel Dispensing and Management System with 97 refueling stations located in Baltimore City and every Maryland County. Since its June 1991 inception, State fleet drivers have pumped 152 million gallons of fuel. The program has saved the State a total of $8.2 million. The Maryland Energy Administration serves as the Governor’s policy arm for energy and is one of the primary sponsors of the E-85 stations throughout Maryland.

The State currently owns 1,200 flex fuel vehicles and is adding about 200 per year. The range of a vehicle operating on E-85 is more than 350 miles on an 18 gallon tank of fuel. The incremental cost of the purchase of an E-85 vehicle is either very low or non-existent compared to a gasoline counterpart.

Transition to Electric Vehicles

Governor O’Malley announced today a request to the MEA and other agencies to identify specific steps that will ensure this accelerated transition to alternative fueling methods throughout Maryland.

Electric vehicles not only have zero tailpipe emissions, but they cost the equivalent of 75 cents per gallon. Currently, 80% of the U.S. travels less than 50 miles a day, half of that travel less than 25 miles a day, offering a unique opportunity for an electric vehicle demand.

Last year, Governor O’Malley signed the Clean Cars legislation into law, reducing auto emissions in Maryland and establishing strict pollution standards for all automobiles beginning in model year 2011.

Public Awareness Campaign

In addition to the “Save the Bay, Ride MTA” campaign, and the Commuter Choice Maryland program, which is helping Marylanders make their daily commutes less expensive, Governor O’Malley announced today the launch of an MEA awareness campaign to provide families with money saving vehicle tips.

With just a few short term changes, studies suggest that Maryland could replace 300 million gallons of fuel, remove 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, and save consumers $1.4 billion.

Source: Governor O’Malley's Office

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