Chevron Suspends Methanol Program
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Chevron Corp. announced it will discontinue plans for a network of methanol pumps in California, citing low demand, air quality concerns and improved alternate fuels.
The company initially planned to build as many as 25 methanol stations, but will stop expansion with 10 that are operating and four that are being built.
″Other fuels, such as a natural gas, are beginning to show strong potential to meet strict low emissions standards imposed by the California Air Resources Board,″ the company said in a statement Wednesday.
Questions still remained about methanol’s toxicity, cost and limited range, as well as its impact on ozone formation.
Chevron entered into an agreement with the California Energy Commission in 1988 to determine the commercial feasibility of methanol as an alternative fuel.
The original plan for 25 outlets were intended to service about 5,000 ″flexible-fuel vehicles,″ said Dave Hoyer, president of Chevron U.S.A. Products Co.
He said the number of such vehicles has remained constant at about 600, and the average sale at each station has maintained at 18 gallons per day.
Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, costs less than ordinary gas but ″it takes 1.8 gallons of it to go as far one gallon of gas,″ said Chevron spokesman Mike Libbey.
It is also necessary to convert an engine to handle the fuel.