When General Motors Corp. launches its all-new fullsize SUVs next year, the auto maker will promote their capability of running on E85, which is a blend of 15% gasoline and 85% ethyl alcohol, a renewable, clean-burning resource that can be made from corn and other crops.

The proliferation of E85 could reduce costs at the pump and cut fossil fuel consumption by more than three-quarters. But there only are about 500 E85 stations in the U.S., and the fuel is unknown to most consumers.

GM says it has capacity to produce 300,000 E85-capable vehicles annually. But the company never has put its marketing muscle behind ethanol.

That is about to change.

Marketing efforts will include direct mail and print ads in the Midwest, along with outfitting new E85 vehicles with different fuel-tank caps to identify their ethanol capabilities.

Separately, Ford Motor Co. is promoting its flex-fuel, E85-burning cars in France.

Eric Saint Frison, president of Ford France, promises to sell 300 flex-fuel Focus and C-Max cars to French fleets in December, even though there is not a single source of the fuel yet in the country.

Ford has started to sell the cars in Germany under similar circumstances and has delivered some 15,000 flex-fuel Focus and C-Max models in Sweden since 2001.