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E85 Consumption in Minnesota Increases Almost 6x in Two Years

25 July 2006

Minnesota—which leads the US in the per-capita use of ethanol and biodiesel—has added more than 60 new E85 fueling sites in seven months. The state now has more than 250 E85 stations with another 20 expected by mid-August. On average, two new E85 outlets have opened every week since January.

If trends continue, Minnesota motorists will purchase 15 million gallons or more of E85 in 2006—5.8-times the 2.6 million gallons in E85 sales in 2004. That would represent about 0.6% of the total 2.7 billion gallons of gasoline the state consumes annually. Minnesota ranks 18th in gasoline consumption, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Furthermore, some 270 million gallons of ethanol and 16 million gallons of biodiesel are replacing petroleum in ten percent ethanol-blended gasoline (E10) and in two percent biodiesel-blended diesel (B2), respectively.

Since 1998, when the state was selected by the US Department of Energy as a pilot market, the effort to develop E85 has been spearheaded by a public-private partnership, called the Minnesota E85 Team.

Each partner has its own reasons for supporting E85, but we all realize we’re stronger working together than separately.

—Tim Gerlach, outdoor air director for the American Lung Association of Minnesota

Other Midwestern states have more corn and they may produce more ethanol, yet we were first to develop a successful model for promoting the growth of biofuels.

—Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Gene Hugoson

The Minnesota E85 Team provides technical information, consumer education activities and station grant funding. Since 1998, the group has invested more than $6 million in station grants and promotional activities. Recently, grants have been provided to stations with assistance from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, AgStar Financial Services and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture via funding appropriated by the legislature in 2005.

Members of the Minnesota E85 team include: Minnesota Corn Growers; Minnesota Coalition for Ethanol; Minnesota Dept of Agriculture; Minnesota Dept of Commerce; AgStar Financial Services; General Motors; National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition; US Dept of Energy Clean Cities; and the American Lung Association of Minnesota.

July 25, 2006 in Ethanol | Permalink | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

How much modification will it take for these to pump biobutanol?

butanol is a neat idea but will not work in MN.
Heres why, in MN it gets COLD in the winter (-50 F), hence ethanol( with an RVP of 6-8psi) barely starts in the cold.
So butanol (rvp .6 psi), would cause all sorts of trouble with engines starting in the cold weather.

i am glad we are leading in this regard and will continue to with the E20 becoming mandatory soon.

rfh:

Normal cars can't run above E10 without serious engine problems. To say nothing about the reduced mileage and increased overall fuel costs.

Servus, I would put your wording another way. Automotive manufacturers reached a consensus that ethanol blended gasoline up to E10 level is safe to use in all cars. I am pretty sure that it includes generous safety margin.

Servus, I would put your wording another way. Automotive manufacturers reached a consensus that ethanol blended gasoline up to E10 level is safe to use in all cars. I am pretty sure that it includes generous safety margin.

I wonder how much of that is non-fleet, private fueling. The economics don't add up.

cervus
you are incorect. E20 is completely safe and we are doing research at my college about it right now.

all new cars can run a blends of anywhere between 10 and 85%, it just depends how the car ECU is programed. Its called the long term fuel trims and they usually max at 20-30% more fuel, which = a blend of between 30-85% ethanol. Also new cars fuel systems are mostly alcohol compliant, so there is no modifications needed there either.
At school we had a 100% stock prius and ran it on E85 with NO modifications and no trouble codes appeared.

As for the milage reduction - its about 3% less mpg per 10% ethanol, so e20 should have a 6 % reduction in mpg, thus a 20 mpg car would get 14 mpg. But also remember that the lower heating value difference in Ethanol and gas is not a direct corelation in mpg.

Andrey: I just spoke with Tim Gerlach, the head of the Minnesota E85 Team on your question. He told me that 95% of the E85 sales in Minnesota comes from privately-owned FFVs. Recently, I have seen vehicles waiting in line to get E85 at Minnesota stations -- a big change from just a few years ago. This is clearly more than "hype," as some critics suggest. E85 is not a perfect fuel, nor is it the "silver bullet" answer to our nation's energy and environmental challenges. It is, however, a viable and cleaner alternative to gasoline that millions of drivers can use right now.

The fact remains that I'd rather give consumers a choice to buy a certain fuel blend instead of mandating that such a fuel be sold. There are enough older cars on the road out there that E20 blends could cause significant problems. Will the state of Minnesota be liable for any damages caused to private autos? They already had problems with the B2 mandate last winter due to several bad batches of biodiesel.

RTH,

Unless I missunderstood your statement, at E20, a 20 mpg on full gasoline would drop to 18.8 mpg, not 14.

Cervus: Ignorant self-defeating Monday morning quarterbacking aside, you don't have all the facts.
A)Here (in MN) we DO have an choice of whether or not to buy E10. Most of the Premium (91 Octane) fuel is available as a non-oxygenated fuel for off-road and collector car usage.
B)"They already had problems with the B2 mandate last winter due to several bad batches of biodiesel." By they, I assume you mean us Minnesotans. If there were any troubles with B2 biodiesel, the problem was not very wide spread, because I never even heard of it. Further, isn't the problem the "bad batch", rather than the fuel itself?
C)The E20 will not be in effect until 2013, so there should be fewer "intolerant" vehicles on the road. And I would imagine that we will still have non-oxy premium gasoline available for those vehicles.
D)I have already heard all the arguments against ethanol that you presented; In 1998 before anyone actually knew the facts.

Cervus, thanks for the heads up on the blending mandate suspension. I was totally in the dark. I still believe that despite some problems, biodiesel and ethanol are part of a more broadly and profoundly impacting solution.

Andrey: I just spoke with Tim Gerlach, the head of the Minnesota E85 Team on your question. He told me that 95% of the E85 sales in Minnesota comes from privately-owned FFVs. Recently, I have seen vehicles waiting in line to get E85 at Minnesota stations

I'd like to see actual data on that. And I certainly don't see people queuing up for E85 when I go by stations here in St. Paul.

They are lining up for E85 somewhere in Minnesota, Joe. See today's (8/25/2006) Star Tribune article: "Motorists get pumped up over ethanol."

Some more info since I wrote the release featured above: in July 2006 alone, Minnesota drivers bought an estimated 2.1 million gallons of E85 (source: MN Dept. of Commerce). There are now 288 E85 stations in Minnesota. Stop by and see us at the Eco Experience exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair.

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