Is ethanol on the way? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Is ethanol on the way?

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December 18, 2007

Albany - - You hear a lot about ethanol these days. Several big ethanol production plants are even being built in South Georgia. But try to find a gas station selling it in our area and you may have a hard time. That could change. The Governor's Office is encouraging gas stations to look at this alternative fuel and one fuel supplier is pushing for it in Albany.

It's considered to be more environmentally friendly and an alternative to depending on oil. But in South Georgia, will it really fly?

At Enmark gas stations in Albany, customers pump it into their vehicles automatically. The convenience store is taking the lead in providing a 10 percent mix of ethanol in its gasoline. 

Even car makers are getting hip to the idea. This year, Ford introduced a F150 that takes both regular gasoline and even an 85 percent mix of ethanol. It's a standard feature in the 5.4 engine truck.

"This is the first start, then we'll see it in other lines and it will grow and grow and grow," says Clet Denney with Fordtown of Albany.

Jerry Wood with Fuel South, based in Waycross wants to expand the concept in Albany. He went before the Albany city commission Tuesday evening.

"This is not the only location, other people are doing it in the state. We have this in the Atlanta area," he said.

Wood is proposing turning a former gas station on North Slappey into a loading spot for ethanol. The location would be used to store and blend ethanol with gasoline already loaded on tankers.

Albany Mayor's initially questioned if it would be safe.

"It would not be a safety hazard, we'd be working with your local fire department," Wood said.

And automakers say the bigger demand there is for this alternative fuel, the more vehicles we may see that are ready to take it on.

"The more that we end up seeing it at the gas station, when somebody goes to put gas in, then it will become more popular," Denney said.

The commission didn't take any action on this matter yet. It was simply a public hearing, but ethanol proponents say, just this dialogue is a step in the right direction. 

Fuel South provides gasoline for Flash Food stores across the state.  

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