Magnolia, North Carolina is the newest home of an E85 station, just off of Interstate 40. This marks the state’s 16th E85 station, but the first one funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via the Carolina Blue Skies and Green Jobs Initiative. The official grand opening took place on June 17 and 90 guests from the local community and throughout the state were on hand for the event. Special guests included Gwendolyn Vann, Mayor of Magnolia; Zettie Williams, Duplin County Commissioner; Steven Burke, CEO and President of the Biofuels Center of N.C.; and Howard Isley, Assistant Commissioner for Agriculture and Consumer Services.
In five years, 16 stations in the state have installed E85 pumps. Isley noted that, “Ethanol is one way to become energy independent. We need new agricultural markets and ethanol is one way to create one here in North Carolina.” He finds the growing number of E85 pumps in the state encouraging and believes that ethanol can help grow North Carolina’s economy.
Lounell Mainor, owner of the Magnolia Marketplace station, said having the dispenser open to the public is a 5-year dream come true. She sees the environmental and air quality benefits of using ethanol a boon for her community.
“There’s a lot of potential (for ethanol). There’s never going to be potential that we’ll produce petroleum in this county but there’s great potential that we’ll be able to grow the crops that make this fuel and that’s what’s exciting,” said Tazewell, with NC Solar Center/ N.C. State University and also the project manager for the Blue Skies and Green Jobs Initiative.
Burke added, “On one end of the gas nozzle for this E85 pump is fuel that is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. On the other end of that nozzle is North Carolina’s commitment to gain and grow biofuels. We have a whole new world in agriculture and it’s ‘biofuels’. We can’t continue to depend on oil.”