E85 availability boosted in Nebraska, California

By Susanne Retka Schill | January 10, 2013

Nebraska now has about 80 flex-fuel pumps with the addition of two new ones at the Stop N Go in Hartington, Neb., and in California, Pearson Fuels just received a grant to install several more.

One in 10 Nebraska motorists currently own a flex-fuel vehicle that can run on any blend of ethanol and gasoline, up to E85, according to the Nebraska Corn Board in announcing the latest additions. The new pumps were supported in part from a grant funded by the corn board. “We are seeing more flex-fuel pumps going in across Nebraska because of the flexibility for motorists and also for the retailers,” said Kim Clark, director of biofuels development with the Nebraska Corn Board. “Every vehicle filling up is able to use flex-fuel pumps, not just flex-fuel vehicle owners, and retailers have started to recognize this.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board has developed a website to help consumers figure out if they own an FFV. One page of the Nebraska Ethanol website also provides links to obtain smart phone apps to aid in locating E85 stations, as well as instructions for installing ethanol fuel finders for GPS navigator units.

Todd Sneller, administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, said, “Nebraska is the nation’s second largest producer of ethanol, and when drivers fill up on E85 and other ethanol blends, they’re strengthening Nebraska’s economy, making our country more energy independent and going easier on the environment. Ethanol is also a less expensive alternative to gasoline.”

In California, the California Energy Commission awarded more than $3.2 million in grants for clean transportation projects. RTC Fuels LLC, which does business as Pearson Fuels, received $1.35 million to use for E85 dispensing equipment at 19 existing stations throughout California. The Energy Commission expects the E85 vehicle fuel market in California will eventually be the largest in the United States, with approximately 55,000 new flex-fuel vehicles purchased in the state each year. However, there are few locations dispensing E85 fuel in the state, according to the CEC in its award announcement. The Pearson Fuels project includes collecting data on station operations to help provide a demonstration of the feasibility of developing stations dispensing E85 fuel. 

The approved awards were made through the CEC’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118. The program, which is essential to fulfilling the state’s pioneering climate-change policies, is slated to invest approximately $90 million during this fiscal year to develop new transportation technologies, as well as alternative and renewable fuels. It is paid for through surcharges on vehicle and boating registrations, and smog check and license plate fees.