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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Meijer Inc. here opened its first E85 fuel facility yesterday to initiate a partnership with General Motors Corp. and CleanFUEL USA, that will render some 20 Meijer stores offering ethanol fuel statewide in the coming months.
The new fuel center is in Warren, Mich., situated beside a new Meijer store set to open next month. It is also adjacent to the GM Technical Center, the world's largest automotive development center.
"As the number of flex fuel vehicles on the roads increase, Meijer wants to be able to provide our customers with convenience while supporting the use of cleaner burning fuels, like ethanol," said Hank Meijer, Meijer's co-chairman and co-c.e.o., of the new program.
The pump openings are part of a collaboration between GM, Meijer, CleanFUEL USA, and the State of Michigan that was first announced last April. GM dealers will help promote the new refueling stations when customers purchase GM FlexFuel vehicles. The vehicle maker said it currently has more than two million FlexFuel vehicles on the road capable of using E85 ethanol fuel.
"Michigan is home to one of the largest concentrations of GM's E85 flexible fuel vehicles in the country, with more than 140,000 in use -- many by GM company vehicle drivers working right here at the GM Technical Center," said Elizabeth Lowery, GM's v.p. of environment and energy.
Meijer and CleanFUEL USA, the E85 fuel provider, will help choose an additional 19 new E85 fueling locations by the end of the year. Meanwhile, GM will continue to spend significant advertising and promotion dollars to help generate awareness of E85 FlexFuel 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 retailers, states, and oil industry and ethanol producers in California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Texas.
Meijer operates more than 175 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.