Minnesota drivers who stop at selected gas stations with E85 and E15 this spring and summer have the opportunity to fill’er up with discounted fuel and learn more about ethanol-blended products.
The Minnesota Corn Growers Association is partnering again with the American Lung Association and Twin Cities Road Crew, a local marketing company, to educate consumers about fuel options, specifically ethanol blends. The organizations sponsored similar gas station events last fall.
“Last year, we held 26 events in the metro area,” says Mitch Coulter, MCGA biofuels director. “Now we’re doing 35 [across the state].”
Research has shown that consumers would benefit from ongoing messages informing them about flex fuel and gasoline blends. E85 and E20-E50 are flex fuel blends, meaning that ethanol is blended with the gasoline — E85 is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, for example. Flex fuels are only to be used in flex fuel vehicles that have decals or yellow fuel caps on them to identify them as FFV. In Minnesota, around 135-plus stations sell these mid-level ethanol blends.
Gasoline blends are E10 or E15, containing 10% or 15% ethanol, respectively. EPA has approved the use of E15 in gasoline vehicles model year 2001 and newer. E15 is also known as 88 Octane or unleaded plus. MCGA decided to change the name of E15 to 88 Octane/unleaded plus after research indicated that consumers were more familiar with the term “unleaded.” More than 300 fuel stations in Minnesota offer 88 Octane/unleaded plus.
At the fuel station event May 8 in Ramsey, Minn., at Little Dukes, members of the Twin Cities Road Crew greeted customers as they pulled up to the pumps. They offered information on the ethanol-blends, which were being sold at a discount that day, as well as a small gift bag with educational materials upon completion of a brief survey. During the special events, E85 is discounted 85 cents per gallon; E30, 30 cents; and E15, 15 cents.
Lisa Thurstin, senior manager of clean fuel and vehicle technologies with the American Lung Association in Minnesota, says the events help promote the benefits of clean energy.
“We talk with consumers about the benefits to the three E’s — environment, energy security and the economy — when people use ethanol blends,” she says.
Paula MohrFUEL OPTIONS: Customers who fuel up at Little Dukes, Ramsey, Minn., have various fuel options. Note the center one. That’s E15, also known as 88 Octane/unleaded plus, which can be used in model years 2001 and newer.
Upcoming events are scheduled for:
- May 17. Now Mart, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., 7201 Bass Lake Road, New Hope
- May 21. Coborn’s Express, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., 19425 Evans St. NW, Elk River
- May 22. Holiday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., 409 Paul Ave., Cologne
- May 23. Little Dukes, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., 900 Cooper Ave., St. Cloud
More will be added throughout the spring and summer. Visit mnfuels.com for more information.