Here's the problem with flex-fuel vehicles. Also known at E85-capable, flexfuel rides can burn straight gasoline or a gasoline/ethanol blend that is up to 85 percent ethanol. But, since they don't need ethanol, the reality is that most people fill up with petroleum pure and call it a day (in most of the U.S., ethanol isn't all that easy to find, although it's easier now than ever before). The latest numbers available from the U.S. government say that that about 300,000 E85-capable vehicles actually used E85 in America in 2006, out of the five million E85-capable vehicles on the road.
This brings us to the Minnesota Vikings and a new deal the team has struck with the American Lung Association in Minnesota: free prime parking for ethanol cars. The thing is, even though the ALA wants to promote using E85 because it burns cleaner than gasoline, there's no way to prove what fuel is in the tank. So, even though the press release is titled "Use E85? The Minnesota Vikings and the American Lung Association in Minnesota Have a Free Parking Spot for You," what the team is really rewarding here is buying a flex-fuel vehicle, not actually using ethanol. Still, the first 25 people who pull up in a flex-fuel ride will get to use the premium parking spots near the Dome without paying the $40. More details after the jump.

[Source: American Lung Association in Minnesota]

PRESS RELEASE:

Use E85? The Minnesota Vikings and the American Lung Association in Minnesota Have a Free Parking Spot for You

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If you are a Minnesota Vikings fan driving a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) that can run on either E85 or gasoline, you may have a free parking space waiting for you in the Gold Lot at 401 4th Street South (across from the Star Tribune building) in downtown Minneapolis during Viking's home games. The free parking is open to the drivers of the first 25 flex fuel vehicles in the lot during the eight home games this season -- those arriving after the 25 free parking passes are gone will have to pay the usual $40 charge for the premium parking spot near the Dome.

However, you don't need to own a flex-fuel vehicle to win a trip for two to Soldier Field in Chicago to watch the Vikings play the Bears on Monday night, December 28th. Fans can register to win the "Vikings Road Trip, Fueled By E85" contest by going to http://www.vikings.com/fans/promotions/e85.html, where contest details will soon be posted. Radio ads during all Vikings regular season games will also provide contest information and updates. For more information on FFVs and E85, visit www.CleanAirChoice.org.

Volunteers from the American Lung Association in Minnesota will be at the two Gold Lot entrances to identify flex fuel vehicles and distribute the free passes. The American Lung Association in Minnesota supports the use of cleaner-burning E85, and has partnered with the Minnesota Vikings to raise awareness and use of the ethanol-based fuel, sold at more than 350 stations in Minnesota, including the nearby Bobby & Steve's Auto World at 1221 Washington Ave. S. The first 25 flex fuel drivers in the Gold Lot will receive coupons for 10 cents off per gallon of E85 at the downtown station
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