Minnesota state fleet vehicles are using more E85 than ever, according to a new quarterly report from the Minnesota SmartFleet Committee, a group tasked with helping to reduce the state’s use of petroleum fuels in favor of cleaner-burning fuels such as E85 and biodiesel.
In the first quarter of 2009, more than 12 percent of the total fuel used by the state’s light-duty vehicles was E85, an 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline blend. The 150,000 gallons of E85 consumed during the three months represents a 37 percent increase over the same period last year, fleet officials said.
The report comes on the heels of Minnesota’s move to a five percent biodiesel blend (B5) at all diesel retail outlets statewide. That move was widely hailed by environmentalists, farm organizations, the Minnesota Trucking Association, and the American Lung Association in Minnesota.
“It is very gratifying to see real progress in the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce the use of petroleum fuels and to opt for a clean air choice like E85 whenever possible,” said Kelly Marczak, director of the Clean Air Choice program for the American Lung Association in Minnesota. “We estimate that the E85 used to fuel the state’s 2,500 flexible fuel vehicles prevented nearly 600 tons of lifecycle greenhouse gases and other emissions from entering the air. With more than 2,500 flexible fuel vehicles currently in the state fleet, the opportunity to reduce air pollution and greenhouse emissions is significant.”
Minnesota has over 360 E85 outlets, more than any other state. A complete list of the retailers and more information on the American Lung Association in Minnesota Clean Air Choice program can be found at www.CleanAirChoice.org.
Tomorrow, Brent Hajek Motorsports will put Bill Elliott behind the wheel of an E85 powered Mustang FR500C Cobra Jet at Talladega Superspeedway in an attempt to break the NASCAR speed record. the current NASCAR top speed record sits at 212.089 mph and was set by Elliott in 1987 at the same track by a Ford Thunderbird.
The Mustang Cobra Jet that will be used to defeat the 22 year old record has already reached 252 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah under direction of Brent Hajek Motorsports.
Racing legend Bill Elliott has built one of the most distinguished records in NASCAR Cup history. Since 1976, Elliott has participated in close to 750 races, achieved 44 wins, collected 55 career poles and amassed winnings of some $73 million. With all of his incredible success, he still remains humble, stating, “We are all motivated by certain things. Of course, winning is one of them, but for me, the fans have always been the biggest motivational factor. I’ve said this over and over-our fans are the backbone of this sport and they are the reason we are able to do what we do.”
More than 100 surplus vehicles will be sold at public auction on May 16 in Arden Hills, Minnesota including 40 flexible fuel vehicles. The vehicles are primarily from the 2001 through 2006 model years, with varying mileage.
The auction opens for inspection and registration at 8 a.m., with bidding beginning about 9:30 a.m., at the Department of Administration fleet and surplus services building, 5420 Old Hwy 8 in Arden Hills. All goods are sold as is; sales are final and must be settled in full via cash or personal check on the day of the auction.
The state conducts about 12 surplus goods auctions a year and sells surplus continuously online. In addition to eight live auctions slated for the Twin Cities this year, sales will be held in Bemidji, Luverne and Grand Rapids; a calendar is available here.
Minnesota has 360 of the 1,994 E85 fueling stations across the nation. Minnesota has more E85 outlets than any other state.
Propel Fuels and Enterprise Rent-A-Car will partner to educate on Enterprise’s FFV fleet in Sacramento, Calif. Twelve Sacramento Enterprise locations will participate in the program to begin in a few months.
“We really applaud Enterprise for their commitment to E85 and their commitment to flex fuel vehicles,” said Rob Elam, president of Propel Fuels. “We think that – especially in states like California – that kind of leadership from business is very much appreciated by both the public as well as policy decision makers at the state level.”
The collaboration will include supplying Enterprise’s customers with information on E85 and provide a listing of Propel Fuels’ E85 locations. Propel Fuels recently established five “Clean Fuel Points” or, small modular fuel dispensers, in and around the Sacramento area.
Elam stated, “[The station owners] don’t need to put any money upfront to deploy any sort of infrastructure, they don’t have to manage the fuel procurement, they don’t have to do any of the customer outreach, and they also don’t have to do any of the credit card integration.” He also noted that the Enterprise partnership could expand as more Clean Fuel Points come about in additional areas of the state.
Peter Collorafi and Douglas Pelmear have come up with a plan that they say will revolutionize the automotive Industry. Their V-8 engine Revenge Verde will have an expected 400 horsepower, 500 foot lbs of torque and will run on E85. it also will receive 100-miles per gallon of fuel.
The vehicle, produced in Indiana, is expected to be on the streets before the end of 2009. The specifics are “top secret” but the builders know that if they produce an engine that runs on just ethanol, they’ve created an engine that can run at a higher compression ratio, creating more power using less fuel.
Collorafi says, “We’re hoping to put production plants back to work again and producing vehicles. The true winner here is the Americans going back to work putting fuel-efficient engines in production vehicles. That’s our goal.”
The Y-12 National Security Complex was a big winner in the Dept. of Energy’s program recognizing environmental sustainability. The complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is a premier manufacturing facility dedicated to making our nation and the world a safer place.
Y-12 received three of the eight EStar awards presented this year. One of the awards was for use of mass transit, adding options for bikers and pedestrians, and other efforts — such as use of alternative fuels, such as E85 — to save energy on commuting and vehicle use at the Oak Ridge plant. Another award was for pollution prevention projects that eliminated more than 275,000 kilograms of waste and saved $542,000. The third award was for identifying historical railroad items and donating them to organziations for future use, rather than discarding them and creating additiional waste burdens at taxpayer expense. The project reportedly saved over $40,000 and preserved a number of historical artifacts.
More than 150 projects from the DOE complex were nominated for the awards.
Galva Holstein Ag will celebrate the opening of their Renewable Energy Center located at 211 North Main Street in Holstein, Iowa with a tailgate party on May 5. The E85 and biodiesel fuels will be discounted 11 am to 2 pm that Tuesday.
According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Galva Holstein’s Renewable Energy Center is one of the first stations to take advantage of the Renewable Fuels Promotional Assistance Program sponsored by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and the Iowa Soybean Association. Through the Renewable Fuels Promotional Assistance Program, Iowa Corn and IRFA will partner with retailers for grand openings for E85 and ethanol blender dispensers and Iowa Soybean and IRFA will partner with retailers for grand openings for biodiesel dispensers.
Galva Holstein Ag started offering E85 in 2005. This is their third E85 fueling location. They look to add E85 stations in Storm Lake and Odebolt in the future.
“Galva Holstein Ag is a renewable energy leader for Northwest Iowa,” said Lucy Norton, IRFA Managing Director. “Through a commitment to biofuels promotion and consumer education, this small town business has built a loyal consumer following, driving sales that rival its big city competitors.”
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed House Enrolled Act 1193 that will help campuses and school grounds in the state install E85 stations.
“Grants to invest in E85 pumps and fuel tanks are currently available to retailers and local governments,” said the sponsor of the bill, State Sen. Ron Alting. “This legislation would extend those grant opportunities to school corporations and universities so they can install E85 fuel tanks on campuses.” He also noted that the bill could also save schools money by giving them access to state tax breaks and incentives currently offered for those who produce and/or use biofuels.
Currently, petroleum marketers such as Crystal Flash Petroleum in Marion County and Family Express Corp. in LaPorte County have taken advantage of some of the $135,000 in grants to add E85 in the past year. Alting said that these funds were made available at no cost to taxpayers but from corn check-off funds.
“There is a growing opportunity for our state to be one of the nation’s leaders in promoting the use of renewable fuels,” Alting said. “Hoosiers are some of the country’s largest producers of corn and soybeans – products used to create biofuels.”
Motorists in Grand Island, Nebraska now have a range of choices at the pump when it comes to ethanol blended gasoline.
Six ethanol blender pumps were unveiled last week providing flexible-fuel vehicle owners with the option of using E85, E30, E20 or the traditional E10 blend of gasoline. “If you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, you don’t have to fill up with E85 all the time,” said Jon Holzfaster, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “You can choose your ethanol blend based on price, performance and availability. That’s why they’re called ‘flexible.’”
A computer sensor automatically compensates for varying levels of ethanol in the gasoline. The pumps were installed at the Bosselman’s station on Allen Drive in Grand Island. Bosselman’s plans to install more blender pumps in the state, with the next planned for stores at Ainsworth and Chappell.