Oil spill boosts N. Alabama ethanol sales

By Dennis Sherer

 The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is changing the driving habits of some north Alabama motorists.

Since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in April and dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, more north Alabama motorists have opted to use ethanol-based fuels in their flex-fuel vehicles.

That increase has prompted a local fuel distributor to install a pump for dispensing [E85] at one of his Lauderdale County convenience stores.

Recent increases in sales at his Muscle Shoals convenience store, which was the area’s first to offer E-85 ethanol, prompted Jonathan Edwards, president of Lawrenceburg, Tenn.-based Edwards Oil, to begin offering the fuel at the company’s Quick Mart store on Cox Creek Parkway in Florence. The store is across from Regency Square Mall.

“Our ethanol sales in Muscle Shoals have been strong, and we’re expecting the same at our Florence Quick Mart,” Edwards said. “The Shoals community has been supportive of an alternative to traditional gasoline, especially with everything going on with the oil spill in the Gulf right now.”

In addition to providing an alternative to petroleum-based fuel and helping reduce America’s dependence of foreign oil, E85 ethanol is cheaper than traditional gasoline.

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 Our Take:
All across America, drivers want to do the right thing, but especially for gulf coast states like Alabama, where the insult and injury of BP’s callous disregard for their coast still feel quite bitter.

 Suddenly, people realize what is at stake with risky offshore drilling. Every form of energy has its costs, but the potential for catastrophe makes deep sea drilling an irresponsible choice.

 Ultimately, it’s the consumer who can choose. With a figure approaching 8 million flexible fuel vehicles now on the road, and the Detroit automakers pledging to soon make these E85-capable cars, trucks and vans half their annual production, a growing number of drivers can choose the environmentally responsible fuel.  If enough people switch to E85, we won’t need offshore supplied oil.

 And U.S. farmers can supply the grain for this energy without putting more acres in production, nor shorting the food and feed markets for corn.

 Corpus Christi, New Orleans, Biloxi, Panama City, Sanibel Island and the rest of the Gulf coastal regions deserve an environmentally pristine future, and American drivers can help make sure it happens.


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