Flex Factor

Minnesota is a national leader when it comes to the flex fuel E-85, offering more fill-up locations than any other state in the U.S.

(By David Richards, Austin Daily Herald, Published Saturday, March 20, 2010)

Dan Erickson wouldn’t have it any other way. Every time the Alden farmer puts gas in his wife’s 2007 GMC Yukon, he makes sure he does so with E-85 fuel.

His reasons?

“For one, it’s produced locally,” he says. “Two, it’s cleaner for the environment and three, it’s cheaper. Since I’ve owned (the Yukon), I’ve never put in anything but.”

Erickson is a corn farmer who sells his crop at the Poet co-op in Glenville. As one of hundreds of members/owners of the co-op, Erickson delivers his corn to the facility, which in turn makes it into Ethanol, which is then either blended on site with gasoline to make E-85 or sold to other wholesalers who blend it themselves.

The fuel, which basically blends 85 percent Ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, has skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade in the United States and especially here in Minnesota.

“Minnesota leads the country with 355 E-85 stations,” says Kelly Marczak, director of clean fuel and vehicle technologies for the American Lung Association of Minnesota.

In the U.S., there are roughly 2,200 E-85 retailers, and Minnesota has been a leader in the development and use of the fuel for more than a decade.

In 1998, the Twin Cities was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of the three pilot markets for E-85 to build the fueling infrastructure and customer market. A coalition of partners called the Minnesota E-85 Team came together to accomplish this goal.

And accomplish it they did.

When the project began, there were only seven E-85 stations in the state.

Flash forward to 2010, where there are now more than 50 times that.

“The American Lung Association in Minnesota recognizes E-85 as a Clean Air Choice motorists can make today to reduce their impact on the environment and lung health,” Marczak says. “…E-85 and intermediate ethanol blends provide a home grown, renewable choice that provides local jobs and supports Minnesota families.”

Our Take:
It’s definitely worth it to go to the Austin Daily Herald web site and read the whole article about E85 and flex fuel vehicles.

When a news story actually articulates all the benefits of ethanol, and especially higher ethanol blends, we wonder why anyone can persist in believing anything other than the fact that ethanol makes a great choice and deserves a large place among the solutions America chooses for its energy future: renewable, cleaner burning than fossil fuels, home grown—so that it contributes far more to our economy than imported oil, while at the same time it does not fill the coffers of nations that do not act in our interest.

We appreciate this news coverage that tells about the win-win we achieve with farm-based energy.

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