HARTFORD, CT – Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell said she wants to reduce the amount of gasoline state vehicles consume each year by more than 500,000 gallons by reducing trips, buying more hybrid vehicles, and making sure the 1,700 flex-fuel cars the state already owns use ethanol fuel more regularly, according to the Hartford Courant newspaper. Rell’s announcement follows criticism of the state’s practice of buying flex-fuel vehicles, but running almost all of them on gasoline rather than ethanol.

There are only two state-owned pumps in Connecticut that dispense the corn-based fuel. A state study found that flex-fuel vehicles are using the ethanol fuel only three percent of the time.

Rell said her plan for the state’s 4,200-vehicle fleet will save money, reduce pollution and contribute to the nation’s goal of reducing dependence on foreign oil. But the General Assembly passed legislation last month requiring the state’s fleet to add more hybrid vehicles and track the use of alternative fuels in state vehicles.

Rell said the state fleet can cut its gasoline consumption by 554,000 gallons. To do that, officials would reduce how many miles state employees drive by five percent, buy 150 new hybrid vehicles, and continue to use vehicles that run on natural gas. State departments would also increase the consumption of E-85, making it 25 percent of the fuel flex-fuel vehicles use. A key part of that goal is adding two new E-85 pumps, in Hartford and Norwich, according to the Hartford Courant.