Flex Fuel Autos the Topic de Jour as Big Three CEOs Go to Washington

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Chief Execs of the Big Three automakers headed to the White House today to discuss the latest advances in alternative fuel technology with President Bush. Their focus: Bush’s support for alternative fuel vehicles and his plan to cut gas consumption by 20% in ten years. However, not everyone thinks that buying "flex fuel" vehicles -- which can run on either conventional or alternative fuels -- will make a difference.

Tyson Slocum, Director of the Public Citizen’s Energy Program and Matt Stone, executive editor of Motor Trend magazine debated the issue on "Morning Call."

Slocum does not support Bush’s energy plan, saying it isn't feasible to replace gasoline with ethanol. He pointed out that not all flex fuel vehicles run properly on E-85 -- a fuel mix containing 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol.

“There are major problems getting enough ethanol,” Slocum said. “President Bush should be talking about improving mass transit.”

Stone countered by saying that reducing U.S. gas consumption 20% in ten years is feasible, though he said such an effort will be costly to consumers. “The automakers already have the technology needed to cut fuel consumption. The real issue is whether consumers are ready to pay for the costly technology”, he said.