One of the few places in the United States where E85 is making any significant retail headway is Minnesota. Of course the fact that a lot of corn is grown and processed there and the region has more E85 pumps than anywhere is in the country helps. In July of this year gasoline sales in the state were down nine percent compared to the same month in 2007. At the same time, E85 sales jumped 16 percent. Of course a closer look at the numbers reveals that it's not a simple transition from gas to ethanol. The total amount of fuel used was down significantly due in part to high prices. Gasoline sales dropped by 21 million gallons to 211,982,582 gallons. Even with the increase in ethanol sales, drivers only consumed about 2.5 million gallons of the biofuel. Minnesota currently has about 350 E85 stations, out of about 1,600 nationwide.
[Source: American Lung Association of Minnesota]
Driving Toward Cleaner Air: July Gasoline Sales in Minnesota Decline By 9%, E85 Sales Up 16%
SAINT PAUL, Minn., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an interesting snapshot of Minnesotans' changing driving habits, retail sales of gasoline in July 2008 showed a ten percent decline compared to sales in July 2007. According to figures for the Minnesota Department of Commerce, motorists bought 211,982,582 gallons of gasoline in July, compared to 233,081,981 gallons last July. As gasoline sales declined, the amount of ethanol-based E85 sold during the same period increased by 16 percent. To-date, E85 sales are approximately 16% greater in 2008 than they were at this time last year. Monthly sales of cleaner-burning E85 are averaging roughly 2 - 2.5 million gallons a month. E85 is designed for flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) that can use either E85 or gasoline; there are an estimated 200,000 flex fuel vehicles in Minnesota.
"A year ago, I don't think anyone would have predicted Minnesota could achieve a trifecta of fuel conservation, increased use of mass transit, and increased sales of cleaner-burning alternative fuels in the middle of what has historically been the peak driving season," said Robert Moffitt, communications director for the American Lung Association of Minnesota. "Since vehicle exhaust is the single largest source of air pollution in Minnesota, the positive impact of these three elements coming together can't help but improve air quality this summer."
While flex fuel vehicles are commonly used in federal, state and local government fleets, most of the E85 sales are for privately owned vehicles, Moffitt said. A complete list of all vehicles that can run on E85 can be found at www.CleanAirChoice.org.
There are approximately 350 stations in Minnesota currently selling E85. The American Lung Association of Minnesota is currently accepting grant applications from fuel retailers who wish to add an E85 or biodiesel pump to their station.
Source: American Lung Association of Minnesota