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.

The Cost of E85

e-podcastThe price per gallon for an E85 fuel blend is consistently cheaper than gasoline at pumps throughout the U.S. But, critics often say the loss in mileage from using E85 negates any savings consumers get on the gallon. Robert White, the Director of Operations for the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council says the exact opposite. He says the very existence of ethanol in today’s fuel supply means all consumers save money, regardless if they use it or not.

This edition features comments from the E85 educational forum held in Kansas City, KS.

The “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast is available to download by subscription (see our sidebar link) or you can listen to it by clicking here (5:30 MP3 File):

The Fill Up, Feel Good theme music is “Tribute to Joe Satriani” by Alan Renkl, thanks to the Podsafe Music Network.

“Fill up, Feel Good” is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Fuel Up with E85 For $1.85 in Missouri

MO Corn Growers AssociationConsumers have the chance to fuel up on E85 for $1.85. The ZX snack shop in Kirkwood, Missouri is hosting a grand opening for its first E85 fuel pump. The celebration will begin Thursday, at 8:30 a.m. and will continue until 4:00 p.m at 10921 Manchester Rd.

General Motors and the MO Corn Growers Association will be displaying “Live Green Go Yellow” wrapped GM Flex Fuel Vehicles. This station opening marks a first of its kind in the state as it is located within 2 miles of an Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch. Enterprise will be fueling their fleet of Flex Fuel rental cars with E85 at this location from now on. Enterprise will be announcing that the local Kirkwood branch is the first E85/FlexFuel branch in the St. Louis area. Please see the attached releases from Enterprise. Representatives from ZX Snack Shop, JD Street Oil Co., Enterprise Rent-A-Car, St. Louis Clean Cities, General Motors, and the Missouri Corn Growers Association will be on hand to answer questions and help customers fuel their FFVs.

Alternative Fuels in Alabama

Alabama GovernorMotorists traveling on Interstate 65 in Alabama will soon have the opportunity to fill up their vehicles on cleaner burning fuels produced in America.

Governor Bob Riley made that announcement last week at a gas station in Vestavia Hills that will soon be offering E85 and B20 biodiesel. Three other cities – Athens, Cullman and Mobile – are also scheduled to have pumps installed within the next eight months.

“These cleaner, more secure American sources of energy are going to be available to most Alabamians for the very first time,” said Governor Riley. “Alternative fuels are not only better for our natural environment, they also help make us more energy independent. They open up new markets for our farmers. This is a win-win situation, and Alabamians can be proud of the steps our state is taking as America searches for a more secure, less dependent energy future.”

Governor Riley also took the occasion to announce the state is receiving a second federal grant so up to 30 service stations along Corridor X and Corridor V can offer B20 biodiesel to motorists.

E85 in Atlanta

e85 PumpThe greater Atlanta metro area officially welcomed its first E85 station station last week, thanks to help from General Motors, CleanFUEL Distribution, SP Petroleum, and Indore Oil. The pump is located at the Texaco Food Mart in Smyrna.

CleanFUEL Distribution supplied the necessary E85 conversion parts and equipment, which were used to convert the dispenser to E85 compatibility. SP Petroleum performed the equipment conversion service, and CleanFUEL Distribution, along with its partner Indore Oil, are providing and transporting the fuel to the station.

Atlanta is the third of six stops on GM’s E85 Fall Kick-off of the Fuel for Thought Tour, an effort to educate consumers about the use of E85 as an alternative to gasoline. According to GM officials, another 20 to 25 E85 pumps will open around Georgia in the next six months.

Arming the Military with E85

EPIC educational forum on E85 Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas has a vested interest in E85 and flex-fuel vehicles. The Combined Arms Center will soon have to be operating its fleet of more than 200 vehicles on E85. That’s in compliance with the executive order President Bush signed in January of this year. John Tirpak, Traffic Manager at Ft. Leavenworth, came to the Ethanol and Promotion Information Council’s educational event on E85 in Kansas City to learn how the military facility can fuel up with E85.

You can listen to my interview with John here:

Branding E85

EPIC Director of Operations Robert White explaining the market for E85 There are a lot of pluses about operating vehicles with a blend of E85 fuel and the Director of Operations with the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council mapped out just as many ways to promote consumer use of the renewable fuel. That’s precisely what today’s educational forum at the Holiday Inn in Overland Park was all about: how to boost the marketing landscape for E85 in the Kansas City area. Robert White says the best strategy basically boils down to getting more flex-fuel vehicles out on the road and getting more E85 in their tanks. For Robert, it’s up to the automakers, local fuel retailers and local auto dealerships to make that happen through a united effort to brand ethanol.

I spoke with Robert about some of the many ideas EPIC shares with the ethanol industry nationwide. You can listen to my interview with Robert here:

Mid-Missouri MFA Oil Trucks and Pumps E85 throughout the Midwest

David Perkins, Manager of Special Projects for MFA Oil talking with EPIC Alternative Blends Coordinator Michelle GibiliscoE85 “just makes sense” for the Manager of Special Projects at MFA Oil. David Perkins was one of two MFA Oil representatives at today’s educational forum on E85 fuel. The forum was sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. David says MFA Oil is the company responsible for introducing ethanol to the mid-Missouri region when the company invested in a small ethanol plant in Marshal, MO in 1973 and first began selling an E10 blend of ethanol in 1980. MFA offered E85 fuel blends at one of its Missouri filling stations for the first time in November of 2003. The oil company now has 44 retail locations that offer ethanol fuel blends at the pump. E85 sales for MFA amount to more than 3 million gallons per year. For David, just offering a blend of ethanol fuel at the pumps will ultimately help drive E85 sales. David also stressed the importance of ethanol producers, retailers and car dealers working together to promote E85.

David and I discussed the importance of generating a dialogue about ethanol and E85. You can listen to my interview with David here:

Growing E85 in Kansas

Sue Schulte, Director of Communications for the Kansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Associations Good news if you’re a fuel retailer in Kansas. The state offers a 40 percent tax credit to retailers who invest in E85 fuel. Couple that with the 30 percent tax credit the federal government offers, and fuel retailers in Kansas can take advantage of a 70 percent return on their E85 investments. That’s one of the key points Sue Schulte, the Director of Communications of the Kansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Associations, drove home to attendees at today’s educational forum on E85 fuel. The forum was hosted by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council to help direct local members of the ethanol industry in Kansas City on how to get online with E85.

Sue clued participants in on where the ethanol industry stands in Kansas, so producers and retailers could get a feel for what the state already has to offer and determine where and how the local industry can grow. Sue says there are 10 dry mill ethanol plants in operation in Kansas. These plants have a capacity to produce over 329 mill gallons of ethanol. Sue says that current Kansas production creates a market for over 116 million bushels of sorghum and corn. She adds that more expansion is on the way, with ethanol plants that are either under construction or nearing construction having projected production capabilities of about 330 more million gallons of ethanol each year. The state’s fuel industry is beginning to respond. Sue says just five filling stations offered ethanol in 2005. Now, there are 24 stations throughout the state that pump the alternative fuel.

I caught up with Sue and asked her about her thoughts on what today’s educational forum on E85 offered local industry members. You can listen to my interview with Sue here:

Getting the facts on E85

Ethan Taylor, E85 Coordinator for the Missouri Corn Growers Association talking with EPIC Alternative Blends Coordinator Michelle Gibilisco Missouri can boast 93 E85 filling stations that are either up and running or soon to open. Ethan Taylor, the E85 Coordinator for the Missouri Corn Growers Association says that each E85 filling station pumps about 300 gallons a day. That equates to 27,900 gallons of E85 fuel being sold each day in Missouri, or more than 10 million gallons sold each year. The Show-Me-State certainly has a jump start on the ethanol industry, but there’s obviously room for more growth.

That’s one of the reason’s why the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council sponsored an educational forum in Kansas City today to allow local ethanol industry members, or those interested in becoming involved in the industry, learn more about how they can grow ethanol, and, more specifically, how they can ramp up the production and sale of E85 fuel. During the forum, Ethan stressed that the biggest necessity for industry producers and retailers is to educate consumers on the truth about ethanol. He says much of the public is misinformed about how and when to run their vehicles on E85 fuel blends, how much mileage they’re getting compared to gasoline and how much money they’re spending to get from A to B.

Ethan reminds industry members that virtually any vehicle manufactured since 1980 can use an E10 blend of fuel. He says consumers do need a flex-fuel vehicle in order to use E85 fuel or any other fuel blend greater than 10 percent ethanol. When it comes to energy efficiency, Ethan explains that a gallon of ethanol has an energy content of about 72,000 BTU. When compared to gasoline’s energy content of about 115,000 BTU, that means consumers get about 28 percent less energy from burning E85. Ethan says that equates to about a 10 to 20 percent mileage loss when using E85. But, he says when you factor in the cost of E85 fuel – which typically runs 20 percent lower than the going rate for gasoline – at worst, consumers are spending the same amount of money. At best, they’re saving 10 percent on fuel.

For Ethan, spending the same amount of cash, or less, on a renewable fuel that’s domestically produced, that reduces emissions and that results in cleaner engines is a smart idea.

I spoke with Ethan about the importance of today’s educational forum on E85 and about how the Missouri Corn Growers Association is getting involved in the ethanol industry. You can listen to my interview with Ethan here:

Driving an E85 Market in Kansas City

EPIC forum on E85 fuelThere’s a growing market for E85 fuel blends in Kansas City and the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council wants to make sure local producers, ethanol retailers and flex-fuel vehicle car dealers are equipped with the infrastructure, knowledge and marketing tools they need to sell an E85 product. EPIC is sponsoring two educational forums about the high-grade alternative fuel today at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Overland Park. This morning, industry leaders came together to discuss and learn about promoting what EPIC calls “part of the solution for the future.” The forum is also meeting this afternoon.

Biofuels Research at Arizona State

Science Foundation ArizonaThe Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University is launching a Renewable Biofuel Research Initiative. Science Foundation Arizona and energy company BP are funding the initiative meant to propel the development of a renewable source of biofuel.

The research effort focuses on using a specially optimized photosynthetic bacterium to produce biodiesel, a sustainable high-energy fuel that can be used in conventional engines.

Biodesign Institute at Arizona State UniversityThe use of renewable, photosynthetic bacteria in the production of biofuel eliminates the need for costly and complex processing. In addition, the large-scale microbial cultivation, using only solar energy and an environmentally controlled production facility, can be set up on arid land.

BPThe renewable technology holds significant promise, with an estimated high biomass-to-fuel yield. Furthermore, because the bacteria are dependent upon carbon dioxide for growth, a more environmentally friendly and potentially carbon neutral energy source is feasible. The small footprint needed for bacterial biofuel production allows the technology to be placed adjacent to power generating stations and the utilization of flue gas as a carbon source.

The Renewable Biofuel Research Initiative is part of a series of Strategic Research Group awards being offered by the Science Foundation Arizona.

Florida Alternative Fuel Locator

FL Farm to FuelFlorida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson has announced a new website that provides locations in the state where E85, E10, biodiesel and biodiesel-blended fuels can be purchased.

“This tool will enable motorists to locate renewable, cleaner burning fuels around the state,” Bronson said. “I am very pleased that a number of facilities are now making these fuels available to the public, and we expect the number to continue growing.”

A total of 53 facilities are listed in the state that offer E10, three offer E85, 12 offer B20 biodiesel and two offer 100 percent biodiesel.

Ethanol Moves Up the Ranks in American Le Mans Series

e-podcastEthanol is gaining more ground in the motor sports arena and more leagues are getting on board with ethanol-enriched fuel. The American Le Mans Series is now the second racing league to officially commit to a fuel based largely from ethanol. The ALMS has committed to upgrading its official fuel of the series from an E10 fuel blend to an E85 blend for 2008.

This edition features comments from interviews conducted just days before the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta.

The “Fill up, Feel Good” podcast is available to download by subscription (see our sidebar link) or you can listen to it by clicking here (5:30 MP3 File):

The Fill Up, Feel Good theme music is “Tribute to Joe Satriani” by Alan Renkl, thanks to the Podsafe Music Network.

“Fill up, Feel Good” is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council.

Old Classic, Renewable Fuel

Great RaceThe biggest news for the “Great Race” organizers so far is the prospect of powering a ’67 Aston Martin with E-85 for the entire 2008 trek from New York to Paris. The Great Race Web site reports:

2008 Great Race entrant, Rich McKone of Peoria, Illinois is converting his 1967 Aston Martin DB6 to run on Ethanol E-85 for the around-the-world Great Race in 2008…

Instead of running the historical British sports car in the Schuster Class for cars that are 25 years old and older, McKone intends to participate in the Innovation Class in hoping to prove that Ethanol E-85 is the best short-term solution for renewable fuel.

Looks like Chuck was right. Ethanol isn’t just for the Indy Racing League, nor is it just for modern cars.