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.