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    Kroger, GM Partner on Alternative Fuel Plan

    CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here and General Motors are collaborating to increase the use of ethanol-based fuel in Ohio. E85 fuel, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is a cleaner-burning alternative to regular gasoline, reducing tailpipe and greenhouse emissions.

    CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here and General Motors are collaborating to increase the use of ethanol-based fuel in Ohio. E85 fuel, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, is a cleaner-burning alternative to regular gasoline, reducing tailpipe and greenhouse emissions.

    "Kroger is excited to offer this innovative fuel to Ohio customers. We believe customer interest in this alternative fuel will grow as it becomes more conveniently available," said Bruce Macaulay, president of Kroger's Columbus Great Lakes division, which comprises 245 stores in Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia. "We are pleased to partner with the state of Ohio and General Motors as we work together to make it easier for customers to access this renewable fuel," said Macaulay.

    The first Kroger fuel station in Ohio to offer E85 fuel is located at 7000 East Broad Street in Columbus. The alternative fuel will be available at that site in August. Kroger said it's making station improvements needed to offer E85 throughout Ohio, and plans to offer it at more Kroger fuel centers as consumer demand grows. Specific locations throughout central Ohio, Dayton, Cincinnati, and Toledo will be announced as they come on line, according to the company.

    Kroger launched E85 fuel stations in Texas last month and is exploring additional opportunities to offer customers E85 fuel throughout the United States. Kroger Plus Card customers will enjoy the additional per gallon savings offered on all types of fuel.

    "In February I announced a goal of tripling the number of E85 pumps in Ohio from six to 18 by the end of the year," Ohio Gov. Bob Taft said in a statement. "Thanks to partnerships like this one with GM and Kroger, we expect to achieve that goal."

    Taft signed a law Thursday that offers financial assistance to retailers that add or convert pumps to carry alternative fuels like E85. GM said it would spend advertising and promotional dollars to increase awareness of E85 flexible fuel vehicles and where consumers can buy the ethanol fuel.

    Kroger operates more than 600 supermarket fueling stations nationwide, including more than 80 in Ohio, all of which are located next to Kroger retail grocery stores. Kroger also operates more than 700 convenience store fueling sites in the United States.

    At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2006, Kroger operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 2,483 supermarkets, and multidepartment stores in 31 states under two dozen local banners, in addition to 783 convenience stores, 423 fine jewelry stores, 593 supermarket fuel centers, and 42 food processing plants.

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