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PITTSBURGH, July 10 -- A collaborative partnership among Sheetz, VeraSun Energy Corp., General Motors and the State of Pennsylvania will result in the addition of three new E85 fueling stations in the Pittsburgh area -- site of this week’s Major League Baseball All-Star game.
The announcement was made today at an event at Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest, the largest baseball fan event in the nation held annually in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game. Chevrolet, as sponsor and the official vehicle of MLB, is promoting E85 ethanol-based fuel in various ways throughout the All-Star Week festivities.
Presiding over the event, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell said, "One of the biggest obstacles to greater use of E85 ethanol is availability -- especially at the retail level … Today I am proud to preside over the opening of yet another thanks to this commitment by GM, VeraSun and Sheetz."
GM, a catalyst behind several similar collaborative partnerships across the country, began an initiative with VeraSun in February as part of a broader, national campaign to boost the use and awareness of E85 -- a fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline -- in the United States.
"GM already has more than two million vehicles on the road today that are capable of using E85 ethanol fuel," said Elizabeth Lowery, GM vice president of environment and energy. "We appreciate VeraSun and Sheetz for joining our efforts to make this great fuel alternative available to more people in Pittsburgh."
VeraSun Energy, the nation's second-largest ethanol producer, will be supplying its brand of E85, VE85 to select Sheetz stores in the Pittsburgh area beginning this week at its new Pleasant Hills location (on Route 51 and Lewis Run Road) and expanding to two additional stores by later this year.
"We are excited to continue to expand our partnership with General Motors and to welcome a new retail partner, Sheetz, in making VE85(TM) available to consumers in Pittsburgh," said Bill Honnef, VeraSun senior vice president, sales and marketing.
Sheetz, based in Altoona, Pa., is one of America's fastest-growing family-owned and operated convenience store chains with more than $3.4 billion in revenue in 2005, 322 locations and more than 10,000 employees.
"Sheetz is proud to be the first large retail chain in the state of Pennsylvania to offer customers VeraSun's E85 as an alternative fuel choice," said Louie Sheetz, executive vice president of marketing, Sheetz. "We thank VeraSun for helping us make this homegrown, renewable fuel available to our customers. We also appreciate the support of Gov. Rendell, GM and our partners in promoting E85's availability and working to increase consumer awareness."
Today's announcement marks the fourth collaboration in four states that GM and VeraSun have entered with a third-party retailer since the companies began working together to promote awareness of E85 ethanol-based fuel. The first initiative, launched last May in Sioux Falls, S.D., promoted VE85 pumps in seven prominent local stations. In the Chicago metro area, what began as a 20-location effort in February has already expanded to include 32 sites, and the initial four outlets in Minneapolis-St. Paul have grown to 16 in the last four months.
General Motors said it will continue to spend significant advertising and promotion dollars to help generate awareness of E85 flexible fuel 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 state government, oil industry, ethanol producers, and retail partners in California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Texas. Since May 2005, GM has announced partnerships with states and fuel providers around the country to locate, to date, over 160 new E85 ethanol fueling locations.