The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest has announced the first of Wisconsin’s E85 highway signs installed along Interstate 90 near Wisconsin Dells. The signs will alert flexible fuel vehicle owners of E85 available along exits.
The American Lung Association in Wisconsin’s highway sign program pays for the production and installation of the signs, plus one year of rent under the state’s Specific Information Sign program. “The blue highway signs do a great job alerting those passing through the area that E85 is available,” explains Jackie Blackburn, clean fuels coordinator for the American Lung Association in Wisconsin. “Now, flex fuel vehicle drivers can more easily incorporate E85 into their road trips.”
In 1986, Wisconsin joined the Federal Highway Administration’s SIS program. This program allows for nearly 3,000 miles of the state’s blue “Gas,” “Food,” and “Lodging” signs posted near Interstate and major roadway exits allow travelers to plan their stops based on what retailers are available.
Currently, there are 122 E85 fueling stations in the state of Wisconsin.
South Florida motorists who drive flex fuel vehicles now have at least 12 stations where they can fill up with E85 fuel. The Renewable Fuels Association joined Urbieta Oil in celebrating the grand opening of the nation’s 2000th E85 fueling station this week in Davie, Florida.
This edition of “The Ethanol Report” includes comments from RFA Director of Market Development Robert White, Urbieta Oil president Edwin Flores, and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson.
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The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) celebrated the grand opening of the nation’s 2000th E85 fueling station Thursday in south Florida.
RFA Director of Market Development Robert White says this is a milestone in E85 history. “Being in the Miami metro area promoting E85 shows that this is not a Midwest niche fuel any longer,” White said. “This is a product that can be distributed and sold anywhere in the country and we are able to take E85 where the people and the flex-fuel vehicles are.”
Urbieta Oil owns and operates 12 U-Gas fuel stations in the south Florida area, including the location in Davie which held its grand opening on Thursday. President Edwin Flores says they were the first company to offer E85 in the Miami area in 2007 and they are very committed to renewable fuels. “We think its the right thing to do, not only for our country but for our children’s future,” Flores said. “Fossil fuels are limited and eventually I think we all have to seek alternative fuels.”
Thunderstorms in the area put a little bit of a damper on the grand opening festivities and kept Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson from attending as planned, but in a telephone interview with Domestic Fuel he expressed his pleasure with the progress Florida is making as a leader in renewable fuels. “Florida growers are ready to grow the crops needed for ethanol and biodiesel production,” Bronson said. “We have the capability to produce up to three billion gallons of fuel in the state.”
Increasing the availability of alternative fuels like E85 is part of the Florida Farm to Fuel program, according to Bronson, and having another E85 pump in the state certainly helps. “Gives an opportunity for those with flex-fuel vehicles one more place they can stop in and fill up,” he said.
To celebrate the grand opening, all 12 U Gas locations in south Florida offered E85 for just $1 a gallon between 4 and 6 pm on Thursday.
Filling up with 85 percent ethanol paid off in a big way for an Indiana couple who hit the Hoosier Lotto jackpot this month.
According to Hoosier Lottery officials, Pamela Smith of Summitville won a $2.5 million jackpot in the May 9 Hoosier Lotto drawing after stopping at a Muncie gas station specifically to buy E85.
“I was looking for Ethanol gas,” said Smith. “I actually went inside the gas station to thank the manager for carrying Ethanol because it’s so hard to find. It was an impulse buy for me to purchase one dollar of Lotto and one dollar of Powerball.”
She and her husband Jay opted for a lump sum payment of nearly $1 million dollars and the retailer received a $25,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
InterState Oil Company is now offering E85 at the Pacific Pride station at 917 Cotting Lane in Vacaville, California.
“We want to be environmentally conscious,” said Greg Andrews, vice president of Interstate Oil. “Everyone is concerned about the air. We want to do our part.”
The company has been a family owned and operated business since 1970. It is a leader in promoting the use of alternative fuels in the California and Nevada markets. They offer terminal infrastructure and the ability to handle rail traffic.
Andrews acknowledged that the E85 venture is new for the company, which is curious to see how well the industry will do. “We’ll see what happens,” he said. “We feel there will be a demand and we wanted to align ourselves with what the state is already doing.”
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.”