Count Pearson Fuels, and the state of California for that matter, is among proponents of boosting ethanol content in light-duty vehicle fuel. San Diego-based Person received a $1.35-million grant to add pumps that distribute fuel with an 85-percent ethanol mix – i.e. E85 – at 19 new gas stations throughout the Golden State.

Pearson, which estimates that the number of California's flex-fuel vehicles runs into the "hundreds of thousands," estimates that the pumps will displace more than 2.7 million gallons of traditional gas a year and will cut greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 25,000 tons annually. The company, which received its grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), already distributes E85 at about a dozen stations throughout the state, including locations in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose.

Selling gas with a higher ethanol content has been a hot-button issue of sorts, with proponents saying it cuts foreign-oil dependency and helps US farms while opponents claim that it's bad for the environment, creates food shortages and can damage engines. The US Environmental Protection Agency last June legalized public sales of a 15-percent ethanol blend (E15), which has 50 percent more ethanol that current standard fuel. Some states such as Maine have gone as far as saying they may ban sales of E15.

Despite having the most registered vehicles in the US, California trails states such as Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa when it comes to E85 stations. Of the country's approximately 2,500 E85 stations, 88 are in California, according to the US Energy Department. Pearson Fuels' press release is available below.
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Pearson Fuels Awarded $1.35 Million to Build an Additional 19 E85 Stations in California

State's Largest E85 Marketer to Double Flex Fuel Stations Retail Network

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pearson Fuels of San Diego, Calif. has announced that it has been granted $1.35 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to assist in its expansion of its retail flex fueling network. The funds will be used to install E85, a high blend of ethanol and gasoline, into 19 traditional retail gasoline stations across California. It is expected that the project will displace approximately 2,754,218 gallons of gasoline per year as well as reduce greenhouse emissions by approximately 25,082 tons per year. The funding was made available through CEC's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

"There are hundreds of thousands of flexible fuel vehicle owners in California who have been burning imported oil in their vehicles for years while a domestically produced, renewable and cleaner burning fuel is available"

In the United States, the high blend of ethanol used in E85 continues to be produced primarily from corn. However, there have been major technological improvements that have contributed to more advanced production plants and a more advanced fuel made from agricultural waste products and other non-food sources. The California Imperial Valley has several such plants in the development process.

"There are hundreds of thousands of flexible fuel vehicle owners in California who have been burning imported oil in their vehicles for years while a domestically produced, renewable and cleaner burning fuel is available," said Mike Lewis, Pearson Fuels General Manager. "The problem continues to be a significant shortage of retail stations where the public can buy the fuel, with less than 45 retail E85 Flex Fuel Stations in the entire state. The CEC's funding, matched with our own and that of the retail fuel station owners will go a long way towards addressing that shortage."

Lewis said stations will be strategically located in areas where significant numbers of flex fuel vehicles are currently underserved by flex fuel stations. Stations are planned for 19 different communities from San Diego to South Lake Tahoe.

Pearson Fuels opened in 2003 as the world's first alternative Fuel Depot. From inception the Pearson Fuel Depot offered a number of firsts in what most people thought was the mature retail fueling industry. Specializing in bringing alternative fuels to the public, the Fuel Depot brought the first E85 station to the west coast of the US, the first Biodiesel station to San Diego and the county's first dual pressure CNG station. Using lessons learned from the Fuel Depot, Pearson grew to become California's largest wholesale E85 distributor and has a large biodiesel blending project nearing completion in McClellan, CA. Several retail hydrogen projects and compressed natural gas stations are also in development. For more information visit

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