President Calls for Alternative Fueling Stations

During a speech at a truck manufacturing plant in Mount Holly, North Carolina this week, President Obama outlined specifics for an energy plan that includes alternative-fueled vehicles and fueling stations.

“We’ve got to develop every source of American energy — not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels,” Obama said, noting that he has directed “every department, every agency in the federal government, to make sure that by 2015, 100 percent of the vehicles we buy run on alternative fuels — 100 percent.”

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much natural gas, or flex-fuel or electric vehicles you have if there’s no place to charge them up or fill them up. So that’s why I’m announcing today a program that will put our communities on the cutting edge of what clean energy can do.

To cities and towns all across the country, what we’re going to say is, if you make a commitment to buy more advanced vehicles for your community — whether they run on electricity or biofuels or natural gas — we’ll help you cut through the red tape and build fueling stations nearby. And we’ll offer tax breaks to families that buy these cars, companies that buy alternative fuel trucks like the ones that are made right here at Mount Holly. So we’re going to give communities across the country more of an incentive to make the shift to more energy-efficient cars.

Growth EnergyGrowth Energy CEO Tom Buis says ethanol producers embrace the president’s “all of the above” energy policy that focuses on giving consumers greater choice for motor fuel. “With ethanol trading at a buck a gallon less than gasoline, it only makes sense to speed more biofuels like ethanol to the marketplace to help reduce prices at the pump,” said Buis. “We know that there are a lot of developing alternative fuels out there that can help replace foreign oil – someday. But today, ethanol is the only commercially-viable alternative to foreign oil that we have, and we ought to be embracing policies that give consumers greater access, not less.”

New Website for Pre-Owned Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Are you searching for a pre-owned alternative fuel vehicle or equipment? Test drive a new website, afvresale.com, developed by The Sales Network (TSN). This site lets consumers who want to “go green” buy or sell previously owned alternative fuel vehicles or equipment.
The website provides free membership for listing, responding and searching any pre-owned alternative fuel vehicle located across the nation, including those powered by propane autogas, ethanol, CNG, electricity and biodiesel, as well as hybrid vehicles.

“The Sales NetWork established afvresale.com because the demand is there,” said Greg Zilberfarb, CEO and president of the Sales NetWork. “We live in a time where people are becoming more environmentally and cost conscious. The more we worked with clients in the alternative fuels industry, the more we were hearing a cry out for a place where alternative fuel vehicles could be bought and sold online, similar to an online classifieds for clean-burning vehicles.”

I’ve worked for years with a variety of alternative fuel industries and Clean Cities programs and there has always been a blaring gap between the OEM’s and resale markets for alternative fuel vehicles,” said Zilberfarb. “This site closes that gap and creates a useful clearinghouse for Clean Cities coordinators across the country to buy good, quality used vehicles that reduce our nation’s carbon footprint.”

North Dakota E85 Sales Nearly Double in 2011

E85 sales keep growing in North Dakota. According to the North Dakota Clean Cities program, approximately 1.3 million gallons of E85 were sold in 2011 at more than 70 retail outlets, up from 663,727 gallons sold in 2010.

E85 is an ethanol-based fuel intended only for use in “flex fuel vehicles” (FFVs) that are built to use either E85, gasoline, or other high-ethanol blends. There are more than 64,000 FFVs registered in North Dakota. The American Lung Association in North Dakota recognizes E85 as a Clean Air Choice that flex fuel vehicle drivers can make today to reduce their impact on air quality and lung health.

“Gasoline contains a number of compounds that are potentially hazardous to our health, including benzene, toluene, and xylene,” said Joey Roberson-Kitzman, coordinator of the clean fuels program at the American Lung Association in North Dakota. “E85 is not only cleaner-burning than gasoline, it is made close to home, and helps to support rural families and communities in North Dakota. It helps to diversify our transportation fuel choices, and strengthens our energy security.”

For more information on E85 or a list of where to buy the fuel or to see if your vehicle can use E85, visit the American Lung Association in North Dakota’s Clean Air Choice website.

Nebraska Ethanol Sales Top Ten Billion Gallons

Ethanol sales from Nebraska have officially reached 10 billion gallons, according to the Nebraska Ethanol Board. The history making tank-full was pumped in late 2011, after 34 years of ethanol being sold in the state.

2012 projections show that Nebraska drivers could purchase close to seven hundred million more gallons this year. Last year, production from the state’s 25 ethanol plants topped 1.9 billion gallons according to preliminary data. 91 percent of the state’s production goes to U.S. domestic markets, five percent goes overseas and four percent stays in Nebraska.

According to the Energy Information Administration, 2011 U.S. ethanol production was 14.4 billion gallons. The country’s total annual motor fuel usage is around 134 billion gallons. Ethanol accounts for 10.7 percent of total U.S supply.

“Our persistence paid off,” says Loran Schmit, a former member of the Nebraska Legislature who laid the groundwork for the development of Nebraska’s ethanol industry. “Ethanol is a major boost to our economy. Continued expansion of the industry will provide greater benefits for agriculture and energy security.”

Sign up for the Nebraska Ethanol Board’s FFV club for updates of new E85 locations and other announcements.

New E85 Blender Pump Available in Arcadia, Neb.

A new blender pump is now available at Trotter Service in Arcadia, Neb.

This E85 blender pump is one of approximately 60 in Nebraska to offer the renewable fuel, ethanol. This station will offer unleaded, E10 and other mid-level ethanol blends including E85 and diesel. Trotter Service in Arcadia is a full service station, according to the Nebraska Ethanol Board and the Nebraska Corn Board.

More than 117,000 Nebraska motorists currently own a flexible fuel vehicle which can run on any blend of ethanol and gasoline, up to E85. To confirm if a vehicle is an FFV, drivers can check their owner’s manual or their gas cap for the flex fuel emblem.

“E85 is cleaner than gas. It’s produced right here in Nebraska and more and more vehicles can use it every day,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board’s Administrator. “When flex fuel drivers fill up on E85, they’re strengthening Nebraska’s economy, making our country more energy independent and being easier on the environment.”

“Giving consumers a choice is also another benefit. This new blender pump will offer flex fuel vehicle owners a fuel choice based on price, performance, and availability,” said Kim Clark, Ag Program Manager with the Nebraska Corn Board.

Sign up for the Nebraska Ethanol Board’s FFV club for updates of new E85 locations and other announcements.

Fuel Promotion at High Plains Cenex in Plainview, Minn.

Warm up with some hot deals on fuel at the High Plains Cenex Station in Plainview, Minn. this Saturday.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the station will be celebrating the installation of a new blender pump by promoting E85 fuel with an 85 cent per gallon discount. The new blender pump not only distributes E85 fuel, but also a range of mid-level ethanol blends not previously available. These fuels are also being discounted during the promotion: 50 cents off per gallon of E50, 30 cents off per gallon of E30 and 20 cents off per gallon of E20.

There will be deals for diesel vehicle drivers too including a discount of 20 cents per gallon on cleaner burning B5 biodiesel. There is a 30 gallon limit per vehicle during the promotion.

E85, E50, E30 and E20 fuels are for use in flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) only. There are approximately a quarter million FFVs registered in Minnesota. All diesel vehicles can use B5 biodiesel. Minnesota has about 360 E85 stations in the state.

Supporters of the promotion include the Olmsted/South Wabasha County Corn & Soybean Growers, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, Minnesota Clean Air Choice Team and the American Lung Association in Minnesota, which supports the use of E85 and biodiesel fuels as part of an overall strategy to reduce and prevent air pollution.

Mid-State Energy Brings E85 to Ft. Myers, Fla. Drivers

Ft. Myers, Fla. flex-fuel drivers now can fuel up with E85 thanks to Mid-State Energy, Inc.

The Ft. Myers Marathon station, opened the E85 station last week. Mid-State Energy also opened up a Circle K E85 fueling station in 2010 in Lake Wales, Fla., with partner Protec Fuel.

“Our company believes in not only giving choice to our customers,” said Ken Allen, Jr., president of Mid-State Energy, “but in providing options that will help our country to become more sustainable and help in some little way to minimize our dependence on foreign oil.”

Protec Fuel, based in Florida, has partnered with Mid-State Energy to manage the E85 installation and provide fuel for the company’s new greener burning fuel offering. Protec is a turnkey E85 company specializing in station conversions and fuel distribution. Flex-fuel vehicles can run on E85 and gasoline. E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

“We commend Mid-State for its dedication in not just opening one E85 station, but its second station as well,” said Todd Garner, CEO of Protec Fuel. “Plus, Mid-State is not only choosing to offer a cleaner-burning option for customers, but a way to differentiate itself in the marketplace,” he said.

Mid-State Energy says it hopes to offer multiple alternative fuels, such as E85 and biodiesel, at the location someday. Besides E85 selling at a lower cost than conventional gasoline at the Ft. Myers and Lake Wales locations, it is better for the environment and supports our U.S. and local economies.

Brisk Sales of E85 in Minnesota During 2011

clean air choice mnStrong sales of E85 continue across the Midwest and especially in Minnesota, according to organizations that track sales.

In the first eight months of 2011, Minnesota E85 sales increased 26 percent compared to the same period in 2010. Reports from Iowa and North Dakota also show significantly higher E85 sales this year than in 2010.

Minnesota has more than 360 E85 retail outlets, more than any other state. Plus, the state also continues to make progress to reduce gasoline consumption in state-owned vehicles. Between July 2010 and June 2011, the state fleet used more than one million gallons of E85, setting a new record for a 12-month period.

According to the Minnesota SmartFleet Committee, E85 now accounts for approximately 19 percent of their light-duty fuel purchases. State agencies used 736,885 gallons of E85 from January through September, up from the 724,827 gallons during the same period in 2010.

“This increase is all the more notable because many of the state’s 3,000 flex fuel vehicles that are capable of using E85 were not driven during a 20-day state government shutdown in July,” said Tim Morse, chair of the SmartFleet Committee and director of Fleet and Surplus Services for the Minnesota Department of Administration.

“Using these fuels not only reduces lifecycle emissions and air pollution, they also help reduce our dependence on petroleum, a majority of which is imported into Minnesota from tar sand sources,” said Kelly Marczak, director of the Clean Air Choice program of the American Lung Association in Minnesota and SmartFleet Committee member.

Alliance AutoGas Achieves EPA-Certification

Alliance AutoGas is now EPA-certified to convert more than 200 vehicle types to propane autogas utilizing the Prins System. The company is a conversion equipment provider and co-founding partner of American Alternative Fuel.

American Alternative Fuel privately funded these EPA certifications to ensure fleet owners and managers nationwide can choose from a wide variety of vehicle makes and models when converting to clean-burning autogas. With more than 200 eligible vehicles, this is the largest privately financed portfolio of autogas vehicle certifications in the United States. New certifications include the latest model years for the popular Ford Crown Victoria and E-series vans and additional certifications for several medium duty GM platforms.

Fleets running on autogas see savings on both fuel and maintenance costs. Autogas is an average of $1.25 per gallon less than gasoline and many Alliance AutoGas fleets report reduced maintenance needs and increased vehicle engine life after shifting to autogas. In addition to the cost-savings benefits of autogas, it is also a clean-burning fuel that is 90 percent domestically produced.

Alliance AutoGas provides both bi-fuel and propane-dedicated conversions using Prins vapor and liquid injection technology. The bi-fuel Prins VSI system gives drivers peace of mind because vehicles automatically switch back to gasoline if the autogas tank runs low when a fueling station cannot be reached.

Petroleum Equipment Group Joins E85 Coalition

The Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) has joined the Coalition for E85 – a group of retailers, producers, equipment manufacturers and other supporters of E85 fuel.

PEI executive vice president Robert Renkes says the goal of the Coalition is to protect the investments of 2,500 small businesses and stop a multimillion-dollar tax hike on consumers. “Fuel marketers, equipment manufacturers and the motoring public have invested a significant amount of money in building the E85 infrastructure and flex-fueled vehicles,” said Renkes. “We must not abandon E85 this close to self-sustainability.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on up to 85% ethanol fuel represent approximately 98 percent of all the alternative fuel vehicles operating on the nation’s highways. “E85 represents a form of liquid transportation fuel that is growing in use and has an infrastructure investment cost similar to unleaded gasoline,” said Renkes. “Following the lead of the Congress and several recent presidents, many of our members have committed to the production of E85 fueling equipment, and we call on the Congress and Obama Administration to maintain the small incentives provided to advance the sale of E85.”

Currently, other alternative fuels, such as compressed natural gas, propane and hydrogen, receive a $0.50 per gallon tax credit as part of the Alternative Fuel Credit and the Coalition believes E85 should be included as well.