One Million Gallon Milestone

Flex-fuel vehicle owners in Oshkosh, Wis. have purchased over one million gallons of E85 at the Renew fuel station located at Highway 76 and 41. Consumers took 830 days to purchase one million gallons of E85 and are well on their way to purchasing more. This marks the first time a Wisconsin gas station has sold more than a million gallons of E85.

Ethanol Promotion and Information Council
(EPIC) Interim Executive Director Robert White congratulated the station and the ethanol industry for reaching that historic mark. “The industry reached a milestone when the Renew station sold its millionth gallon of E85. Consumers are sending the message that the demand for E85 is rising and more E85 stations and flex-fuel vehicles are needed,” said White.

RenewRenew, an independent brand of fuel stations based in Oshkosh, has offered E85 since the station opened on September 26, 2005. The company expects Oshkosh station customers helped save approximately 43,500 barrels of oil by choosing E85 over straight gasoline. Jay Stoflet, Director of Retail Marketing for Renew explains, “While there is no perfect solution for immediately reducing our country’s dependency on oil, E85 is a great first step that is helping make a change. These customers are really making a difference, one gallon at a time.”

MO Governor Pushes More Ethanol

MO Governor Matt BluntMissouri Governor Matt Blunt is serious about making the Show Me State a renewable fuels leader.

As of January 1, the state became only the third in the nation to implement a statewide 10 percent ethanol standard. Now the governor has proposed several initiatives targeted at promoting the use of and expanding access to E85 in Missouri.

At the Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture Monday in St. Louis, Blunt told reporters that he supports tax incentives for retail outlets to install E85 pumps. “Only about two percent of our gas stations sell E85,” said Blunt. “E85 is a cleaner burning fuel, good for the environment, helpful to Missouri farmers, and from a national security perspective it makes a lot more sense to buy fuel that’s produced right here in the Midwest rather than in the Mid East.”

Blunt’s proposals will be considered by the Missouri legislature during the 2008 session which begins on Wednesday.

Listen to Blunt’s comments in response to questions from Domestic Fuel reporter Chuck Zimmerman.

Missouri Governor Unveils Incentives for E-85 Pumps

blunt.jpgMissouri Governor Matt Blunt has unveiled a plan to provide $2 million in tax incentives to fuel retailers who install E-85 ethanol pumps.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, there are only 92 gas stations capable of pumping E-85 out of the more than 4,300 stations in the state. These tax credits would help offset the cost of installing or modifying pumps and tanks to dispense E-85, estimated to cost between $3,000 and $40,000. The proposal comes on the heels of the January 1st E-10 mandate in Missouri:

“We have made several policy changes that make Missouri more energy efficient, environmentally-friendly and a leader in alternative fuel use, such as requiring gasoline to be blended with 10 percent ethanol,” Gov. Blunt said at the Claycomo (near Kansas City) Ford Assembly Plant, home of the Ford Hybrid Escape. “The creation of the Missouri Renewable Fuel Standard was a major step we took to position Missouri as a leader in ethanol production and use, but we can do more. I am proposing we further promote alternative fuel use and better protect our air quality by expanding access to E-85 and provide tax incentives for Missourians who purchase hybrid vehicles.”

The proposal also calls for a $1,500 tax break for those who buy a flex-fuel vehicle, such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, capable of operating on blends of fuel containing as much as E-85. In addition, individuals who buy E-85 could get a $500 a year tax break.

The measure would have to get lawmakers’ approval, and Blunt plans to make it a priority for the coming legislative session that begins next Wednesday (January 9th, 2008).

Indy Vettes

Indy VettesHistory will be made at the 2008 Indianapolis 500 when not one, but two distinctive vehicles will serve as the official pace cars.

Chevrolet and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials gathered at the Indianapolis Auto Show Thursday to make the announcement.

One of the pace cars is a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept that runs on E85 ethanol fuel that will be driven during the race’s pace lap by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

The other official pace car is a black-and-silver commemorative edition that marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car – the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of 500 pace car replicas in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally by Fittipaldi at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.

“Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is a high-performance example of Chevrolet’s gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “As an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet champion to help support GM’s efforts with E85 and celebrate 30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500.”

Ethanol on Ice

E95 ZamboniA new message accompanies the ice resurfacing machine at University of Minnesota hockey games. The new “E85 Zamboni” debuted this month during a game between the Gopher Men and the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

“The message is as “black and white” as we can make it. We hope you agree,” said Tim Gerlach of the Minnesota E85 Team. “This consumer education project was made possible with support from the Minnesota E85 Team, for which we are grateful. Thank you, also, to Portage Marketing for their assistance.”

The Minnesota E85 Team consists of the American Lung Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Department of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, Clean Cities and General Motors.

See more E85 Zamboni pictures here.

Educating NC about FFVs

NEVC NCThe National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, along with General Motors, CleanFUEL Distribution and Clean Fuel Advanced Technology, traveled the state of North Carolina this month in an effort to educate retailers and marketers regarding the potential of E85 and flexible fuel vehicles.

“The event allowed North Carolina gasoline marketers the chance to learn more about E85 and the use of alternative fuels for the almost 140,000 FFVs in the state,” noted NEVC Deputy Director Michelle Kautz. “We would like to thank GM, CleanFUEL Distribution and CFAT for the opportunity to present on the national perspective.”

Author Outlines “Energy Victory”

Energy VictoryAn aerospace engineer and author thinks the country needs a new direction in energy policy to “break the economic stranglehold that the OPEC oil cartel has on our country.”

Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Astronautics, a private company that does research and development on innovative aerospace technologies, and author of several books including his most recent, “Energy Victory,” in which he advocates Congress passed a law requiring that all new cars sold in the USA be flex-fueled.

“If we create the market by mandating that the cars be flex-fueled, it will break the monopoly,” Zubrin says. “Right now the only fuel that American consumers can buy is what the enemy is selling.”

Zubrin believes the American public is getting tired of being beholden to foreign oil interests. “This has gone on long enough. In 1973, we were 30 percent dependent on foreign oil, now we are 60 percent dependent. At the same time, Brazil – which has had an ethanol policy – went from 80 percent to zero. This is the most important issue affecting our national security and our economic well-being.”

Listen to some of Dr. Zubrin’s comments from an interview here.

Biofuel Producer Honored as “Great Oregonian”

sequential.jpgSeQuential Biofuels, maker and seller of biodiesel and ethanol, has been honored as one of five recipients of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski’s Gold Awards, recognizing “greatness in Oregonians.”

This story from the Portland (OR) News says the award was handed out recently at the Oregon Convention Center:

SeQuential, which opened the nation’s first biofuels station in 2006 on McVay Highway in Eugene, will open additional stations in Portland and Eugene in 2008. The company sells biofuel blends for every vehicle, with no engine conversion required. SeQuential’s products include E10, which can be used in every gas vehicle and decreases carbon dioxide emissions by about seven percent. Its E85 bioethanol, for use in Flex Fuel Vehicles, decreases carbon dioxide emissions by 59 percent. B99 biodiesel is suitable for most diesel vehicles and cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent. SeQuential also sells reduced-carbon B5 and B20 biodiesel blends suitable for any diesel engine.

In addition to reducing carbon dioxide and other toxic emissions into the environment, these biofuels directly displace foreign petroleum. In 2007, Oregon consumers avoided using more than 360,000 gallons of petroleum by using SeQuential biofuels.

The company, which was founded in 2002, also operates the largest biofuels retail network in the region with more than 35 biofuel pumps at independent retailers and 5,000 loyal customers. It is a partner in the SeQuential-Pacific biodiesel production facility in Salem, which will expand capacity from one million to five million gallons in 2008.

SeQuential is in pretty good company with this award. Previous winners include Intel and Nike. Check out the SeQuential crew below. Congrats guys!
sequentialteam.JPG

Swedish Bio-Fuel Sports Car

“The Future of Things” has a feature on a future bio-fueled sports car called CCXR.

Future CarThe elite Swedish sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg has created a new bio-fuel powered sports car named CCXR. This Limited Edition CCXR is the first homologated car currently in production to reach over 1,000 Brake horsepower, and a top speed of over 400 km/h (250+ mph). In addition, the CCXR is environmentally friendly, as it runs on E85 (bio-fuel). Keonigsegg plans on displaying the new edition CCXR at the Geneva International Motor Show scheduled for March, 2008.

According to Keonigsegg, the CCXR’s performance is even better than that of the standard CCX thanks to the bio-fuel, “the ethanol in bio-fuel has the positive side effect of cooling the combustion chambers, as well as a higher octane value, well over 100 RON, which gives the high power.” The company explains that for this reason, the power reaches up to 1018 hp at 7200 rpm, and the torque can reach up to 1060 nm at 6100 rpm.

GM Disputes E85 Report

GMGeneral Motors issued a statement in response to a USA Today report this week on a cost-benefit analysis of E85 ethanol, saying the report failed to take into account several positive factors.

“We believe ethanol as a renewable fuel is the best near-term alternative to oil as a transportation fuel and replacing gasoline with ethanol positively contributes to lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” said GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem in the statement. “You cannot take a snapshot in time and define a mature market.”

The analysis cited in the report was conducted by the Pardee Rand Graduate School.

When the Rand study was previewed at GM in October, the authors were told their work did not account for the significantly lower cost of second-generation ethanol that will be made from cellulosic and biomass feed stocks. Most estimates show the cost of making Gen2 ethanol at $1 or less a gallon before distribution costs.

Illinois Corn Growers Honor Ethanol Promoters

Tom Slunecka, former executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) is the recipient of the Illinois Corn Growers Association’s 2007 Ethanol Innovation Award.

Tom Slunecka“It is no secret ethanol production is growing at a record pace, but equally important is the significant increase in public use and acceptance of e10 and e85. Part of what is driving this is a new awareness of ethanol from coast to coast that didn’t exist even two years ago. EPIC, under Tom’s able leadership, has played a major role in this ethanol awakening,” said Steve Ruh, president of ICGA of Sugar Grove.

Slunecka served as executive director of EPIC, a non-profit alliance of ethanol industry leaders, from its formation until he recently accepted a position in the ethanol industry with KL Process and Design Group.

GascityILGA also presented its Ethanol Innovation Award to David M. Christopher, Executive Vice President Finance and Marketing for Gas City, Ltd.

Christopher has been with GasCity since July of 2005 and the company began selling E85 with in a month after he started. Working closely with VeraSun Energy Corp. as an ethanol supplier they began with 10 locations carrying E85. Based on their positive experience this expanded rapidly to 30 stations in suburban Chicago and Northern Indiana.

Ethanol in the Midwest

Washington Group InternationalThe Midwest is getting three new ethanol production plants. Washington Group International has received $150 million worth of cost-reimbursable contracts from E85 Inc. for the construction of E85’s first three ethanol plants in the Midwest region.

E85 Inc.Washington Group will provide procurement, construction, commissioning, and start-up services for the facilities in Wahoo, Neb., and Red Oak and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Each of the facilities will be capable of producing 110 million gallons of ethanol per year. The corn-based ethanol will be blended with unleaded gasoline to create motor fuel, and the plant will produce commercially viable products in corn gluten feed and meal, corn germ, and wet and dry distiller grains with solubles.

Work on the Wahoo plant started in late September; work on the other two plants is planned to begin during the fourth quarter of 2007. A peak construction force of more than 300 is expected at each site. E85 will invest over $750 million in the three facilities.

Find an Ethanol Pump Near You

EPICThere´s no denying the capability for the use of ethanol is a few steps ahead of the infrastructure for accessing the alternative fuel. But, that doesn´t mean consumers can´t fill up their flex-fuel vehicles with E85 without ease. Simply log on to drivingethanol.org to find the E85 Fueling Station Locator. A drop down menu allows browsers to search for E85 pumps by city and state.

Finding A Flex-Fuel

EPICThere are more than 6.5 million flex-fuel vehicles out on the road today and more are on the way. Robert White, the Director of Operations for the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council says the Detroit Three – that´s General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have announced that half of their production in model year 2012 will be flex-fuel vehicles. Robert adds that Toyota and Mazda will also be getting on board with flex-fuel vehicle production soon. That´s a lot of FFVs hitting the road and that´s why EPIC has a tool for identifying FFVs on its website. Robert says a lot of drivers already have vehicles that can run on E85 and don´t even know it. To find out if you can fuel up with E85 visit the Flex-Fuel Indentifier at drivingethanol.com.