E85. It's not just for flyover states anymore. That could be the newest slogan of the 85-percent ethanol blend now that the biofuel is proliferating in areas other than the Midwestern corn-growing states.

The Midwest's share of E85 stations fell to 36 percent last year, down from 54 percent in 2007.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), which reports that the number of the country's E85 stations jumped to 2,625 last year, up quite a bit from the 1,229 that existed in 2007, the first year such numbers were tracked. And while Minnesota remains the state with the largest number of E85 pumps, the Midwest's share of E85 stations fell to 36 percent last year, down from 54 percent in 2007.

Opponents of higher ethanol blends have gotten progressively louder as the government has pushed for more availability of a 15-percent ethanol blend (today's standard gasoline has 10-percent ethanol). Recreational vehicle makers and, naturally, Big Oil, have rallied the most against the provision of E15 and E85. Still, the number of E85 pumps in both California and New York have jumped more than sixfold in the past seven years. Florida and Georgia also had some pretty substantial jumps in E85 availability. The growth of E85 stations is so broad, in fact, that there are only two holdout states without E85 stations: Alaska and New Hampshire. Today, about one in every 50 US gas stations offers E85. Check out the EIA's press release below.
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E85 fueling station availability is increasing

The number of retail fueling stations offering motor fuel that can be up to 85 of all retail stations in the United States offer E85, serving the approximately 5% of the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet capable of running on E85.

Retail stations selling E85 have historically been concentrated in the Midwest, where they benefit from a readily available ethanol fuel supplied to blenders. In 2007, the earliest year for which state-level data are available, the majority of E85 stations were located in just five states-Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin. While states in the Midwest corn-growing region continue to add significant numbers of new E85 retail locations, California, New York, Colorado, Georgia, and Texas have also experienced rapid growth of E85 availability, adding more than 49 retail locations each between 2007 and 2013. As a result, the share of nationwide E85 stations in the five traditional ethanol-producing states of the Midwest fell from 54 in 2013.

California and New York have seen some of the fastest growth in new E85 fueling stations, increasing from fewer than a dozen stations combined in 2007 to more than 80 stations each in 2013. Only two states (New Hampshire and Alaska) currently have no E85 fueling stations, compared to nine that had none of these stations in 2007.

Growth in the number of E85 fueling stations has slowed in the past two years. The number of E85 fueling stations in the United States almost doubled between 2007 to 2011, from 1,229 to 2,442, but only increased by 7% from 2011 to 2013, when the total reached 2,625. Notwithstanding the increase in the number of retail outlets selling E85 since 2007, the vast majority of the nation's approximately 156,000 retail motor fuel outlets do not offer E85.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center

Note: Traditional Midwestern states are the five traditional ethanol-producing states of the Midwest: Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Rest of United States includes Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

With the exception of New York, the Northeast continued to see slow adoption of E85 by retailers. In 2007, there were no retail stations selling E85 in New England, and by 2013, only 13 had been added, with most located in Massachusetts. Several states-most notably Minnesota and North Carolina-actually reported fewer E85 retail locations in 2013 than the year before. This decline contributed to the slower rate of growth in the number of E85 retail outlets observed during the past two years.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      EVnerdGene
      • 9 Months Ago
      I want to hear how you are going to make ethanol without oil (petroleum-based products). (herbicides, pesticides, diesel fuel for tractors and getting the stuff to the processors, process heat, power for processing equipment, getting the ethanol to market) Someday we'll have to chose between food and ethanol. I'll vote for food.
      jebibudala
      • 9 Months Ago
      Awesome, race fuel!
        EVnerdGene
        • 9 Months Ago
        @jebibudala
        Smartest thing ever said about E85. Ever hear how many MPG a racecars gets? They use LPG instead; like in 1.6 Laps Per Gallon.
      JB
      • 9 Months Ago
      E85 is being passed up for electricity that is generated cleanly and at home.
        carney373
        • 9 Months Ago
        @JB
        Ethanol and electricity should get along and team up against oil, not bicker.
          Joeviocoe
          • 9 Months Ago
          @carney373
          Then, the failings of one will drag the other down. Imagine the PR nightmare that will ensue on Fox News.
          EVnerdGene
          • 9 Months Ago
          @carney373
          Maybe we can make ethanol with electric ?
      Levine Levine
      • 9 Months Ago
      All auto makers should publish info showing which of their models are designed to run on E85.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 9 Months Ago
      You want to know the truth? Honeybadger don't care.
      rolanie3
      • 9 Months Ago
      Even on Fords designed to use E85, the engine runs harsher and fuel economy suffers while you pay more! The only benefit to this I see is reducing our dependence on foreign oil - which is great! Unfortunately right now I've got a 2.5L Skyactiv engine whose warranty is void if gasohol > 10% is used. Now I'm trying to find a station in NYC that has E0 instead of even E10. My engine just doesn't like it!
        omni007
        • 9 Months Ago
        @rolanie3
        Are you sure about that part about Fords? I think EZEE2, who owns one, might beg to differ...
      • 9 Months Ago
      E85 sucks. car ran like crap using it and cost around $3000 to clean the crap out of engine.
        carney373
        • 9 Months Ago
        Biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel often get blamed for gunk clogs, but the gunk actually came from oil fuel and was scoured/loosened by the biofuel and got stuck elsewhere.
          Joeviocoe
          • 9 Months Ago
          @carney373
          Most biodiesel stations in California stock fuel filters for all the common diesel vehicles for just such an occasion.
        raktmn
        • 9 Months Ago
        Either you put it into a diesel engine, or you were a dumb sucker and got seriously got ripped off, or you just like making up BS and it never happened. IF you misfuel with E85, at worst all you have to do is drain the tank and refill. Then depress the fuel rail pressure relief valve while manually running the fuel pump to purge the system. But only in idiot would blame the fuel for your own misfueling mistake. Nobody who owns a diesel and mistakenly misfuels with gasoline says that gasoline sucks and blames the gasoline for their mistake. Only an idiot would blame the E85 for their misfuelng error
        EZEE2
        • 9 Months Ago
        Was the car you were in rated for E85? Cars usually tell you what to put in the tank, and not a bad idea to listen to them. Yes, a higher ethanol content means it might not hurt to not let it set forever, but if your car is rated for E85 there should be no issue. My Beloved 2000 Ford Ranger ULEV FFV can run on E85, and although the gas mileage dropped, it ran fine. And this is 14 year old technology on an engine that was designed in 1983. Here is a hint, if your car is not rated for E85 (or diesel, or fairy dust) do not put it in the tank as it probably won't run well.
      Fred Robinson
      • 9 Months Ago
      Ethanol is an awesome fuel that has been murdered by big oil. The lies and dis-information seem to stick better than reality. If produced properly it's energy ratio is much better than gasoline and diesel, no wars are required, no carbon is added to the atmosphere because the growing corn uses the carbon released when it is burned, and only the starch is taken from the corn to produce ethanol. The cellulose and fiber left after starch is removed are better feed for livestock because the animals do not digest starch properly. This reduces the need for antibiotics. Engine damage and poor running are myths too. Old cars run very well with E50, but the magic number is E35. Performance and mileage improve and emissions drop. E85 is not available in Montana either. The best way I have seen to produce ethanol uses the heat from a Natural Gas fueled electrical power plant to brew the beer that is distilled with the same heat into ethanol. This is called co-generation. Petroleum is Poison to us, our environment, the economy, and Politics. Peace
        EVnerdGene
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fred Robinson
        Source ? "magic number is E35" "If produced properly it's energy ratio is much better than gasoline and diesel" not even close "Ethanol is an awesome fuel that has been murdered by big oil" ethanol is a pimple on big oil's butt Where do you learn this crap ?
        omni007
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Fred Robinson
        I can verify my 2007 Honda runs great with E30, and I've tested blends up to E70 with no real issues other than the computer complaining the mixture is lean. The exhaust is much, much cleaner, too.
      Marco Polo
      • 9 Months Ago
      Like Lazarus, Carney373, has arisen from the crypt to extol the virtues of E85. The problem with US produced ethanol, is that it's even more environmentally disastrous that gasoline diesel, without being as efficient, or economic. The idea of compelling motorists to replace an environmentally undesirable fuel, with an even more environmentally disastrous fuel, seems absurd ! (Especially when it's less economic). The problem with US ethanol, is that it's produced from corn. Except in very unusual circumstances, producing transport fuel from agricultural products, is not economically feasible on a large scale, and environmentally very destructive. End the US ethanol mandate, and allow US motorists the freedom as consumers to purchase the fuel of their choice.
        Marco Polo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        @ Joeviocoe Joe, you really are a, ''black and white", " if you're not for me, you're agin' me", sort of guy aren't you ? I have have no particular bias toward HFCV technology, ( unlike EV technology where I have 17 years of experience, and very considerable investment). If a HFCV was available in the UK tomorrow, I wouldn't swap my LERR EV , and buy a HFCV in preference. In Australia, I would have to seriously consider the merits of an HFCV, since no practical EV alternative exists. However, I as a practical environmentalist, I evaluate the potential of any alternate fuel technology with an open mind, not just what suits me. HFCV's have a great deal of potential to achieve a huge environment benefit, on a global scale. I can also see the weaknesses and risks involved in commercialising the technology. That doesn't make me an "advocate", just an open-minded, analyst.
        Joeviocoe
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Marco Polo
        He feels for Ethanol as you feel for Hydrogen
      mylexicon
      • 9 Months Ago
      Duel-injection engines please. Best way to make use of ethanol.
      Ryan
      • 9 Months Ago
      I used it in a rental car before. While it has some issues, I think they need to frame it as a good way to reduce foreign oil imports and a lot of pollution from those countries that don't care.
        Marco Polo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Ryan
        @ Ryan I don't have an issue with the concept of operating a vehicle on a fuel mixture containing ethanol from an engineering perspective. But for the US, the idea that reducing ''foreign oil imports'' is essentially beneficial, is a little simplistic. That thinking was largely a product of the 70's and 80's, before Canada became such a huge supplier, and domestic production was at it's lowest ebb. Today, the US is rapidly becoming not only energy self sufficient, but an energy exporter. Much of the oil it does import, is refined and processed in the US and re-exported as value added products. In addition, the US trade balance with oil rich nations is heavily in favour of the US. Importing oil is actually important to reducing US debt, and increasing US economic prosperity. My real objection to US ethanol, is that it's very environmentally destructive. Far more destructive that the gasoline and diesel it replaces. It's also uneconomic, and because of it mandated requirement, often has to be sourced from " foreign imports". US corn ethanol, is an obsolete fuel. A failed experiment that should have disappeared long ago. It owes its continued existence to political patronage, and massive lobbying.
      omni007
      • 9 Months Ago
      Eventually, it's not going to matter. Long after oil is too hard to get, I'll be able to make my own ethanol, if I feel like it. It'll be much cheaper than making oil, and I can pour a little in my cocktails if I so choose :) EV's are part of the future, too, most likely, but I hold no fantasies of "one true source of power" to rule them all.
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