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GM "Goes Yellow"

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  General Motors, Ethanol
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

GM "Goes Yellow"

Bill Crittenden
5 February 2006

Live Green Go Yellow is GM's new advertising campaign based on ethanol-powered FlexFuel vehicles that debuted during the Super Bowl XL pregame show.

Live Green Go Yellow

The campaign is to sell people on the idea of buying FlexFuel vehicles, capable of running on either gasoline or E-85 (85%) ethanol.  And, of course, selling people on the idea that their ethanol-capable vehicle should be a Chevrolet or a GMC.

According to the site, the current GM FlexFuel vehicles are:

  • 2006/07 Chevrolet Avalanche
  • 2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
  • 2006/07 Chevrolet Tahoe
  • 2006 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2006 Chevrolet Suburban
  • 2006 Chevrolet Impala
  • 2006/07 GMC Yukon
  • 2006 GMC Yukon XL
  • 2006 GMC Sierra This is an impressive list, considering that their most fuel-thirsty vehicles (Avalanche, Suburban, Tahoe and their GMC equivalents) are on it.  Also impressive is the inclusion of the Impala, a favorite of many police departments, who constantly use many Impalas on patrols.

    It seems that once an engine is converted, all applications of that engine can easily run E-85.  I would suggest to GM that even if it ran on mostly corn, no real environmentally-conscious person is going to tool around in a Tahoe.  Converting the 2.4L Ecotec engine, used in Chevrolet's Cobalt, Malibu and HHR, and Pontiac's Solstice and G6 would make sense as a possible answer to the Toyota Prius.

    Fueling is the actual problem keeping people from using ethanol more widely.  I had an E-85 capable GM truck years ago, a 2001 S-10 (4 cylinder engine).  However, because the ethanol stations are so far out of the way from where I live, the inside of the gas tank never saw the stuff in the years I owned it.  My brother-in-law had almost the same truck (different color, different options, manual trans) and a gas station down the road that had E-85 (in Milwaukee), and he used E-85 frequently.

    I live in Woodstock, in the center of McHenry County.  The closest stations are in Lombard and Palatine, the next county over!  If GM were to parter with, say, Marathon (picked becuase of their American-themed ad messages in the past), and make more GM cars FlexFuel at the same time Marathon committed to E-85 in all its stations, then there could be real progress.

    But GM is doing a good thing here in trying.  Considering the high cost of fuel cells and the battery issues with hybrids, ethanol is a good interim step until better technologies come about, and seeing an automaker sell on it (during the Super Bowl, no less!) says a lot about the new thinking at the car companies and may create some new thinking among auto buyers.

    If you missed the commercial and want to see it, you can view it on livegreengoyellow.com

    ©2006 Bill Crittenden

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