As gas sales sag, E85 sales soar in Minnesota

By American Lung Association in Minnesota | February 14, 2012

While gasoline consumption in Minnesota dipped to its lowest point in a decade in 2011, sales of E85 fuel in Minnesota finished the year strong.  Owners of flex-fuel vehicles, which can use either ethanol-based E85 or regular unleaded, bought an estimated 19.8 million gallons of E85 in 2011, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. That would place 2011 as the third best year for E85 sales, after the pre-recession records of 22.5 million gallons sold in 2008 and 21.4 million gallons sold in 2007. Minnesota drivers consumed 2.4 billion gallons of gasoline in 2011, down from 2.5 billion in 2010 and the state's 10-year peak of gasoline consumption, 2.6 million gallons, reached in 2004.

Sales of mid-level ethanol fuels were also up in 2011, with an estimated 2 million gallons sold at 71 flex-fuel pumps (also known as blender pumps) statewide, up from the estimated 1.8 million gallons sold in 2010. Like E85, these mid-level blends should only be used in flex fuel vehicles designed to use high-ethanol fuels as well as gasoline.

Officials with the American Lung Association in Minnesota, which recognizes E85 as a clean air choice that can reduce tailpipe emissions, hailed the news.

"Minnesota is one of the few states that offer drivers easy access to a cleaner alternative to petroleum-based fuel," said Kelly Marczak, director of the Clean Air Choice program of the American Lung Association in Minnesota.  "We have more retail E85 outlets than any other state, and there are nearly a quarter million flex-fuel vehicles registered in Minnesota. Every time a flex-fuel vehicle is filled with E85 instead of gasoline, it reduces air pollution, helps our local economy, and lessens our state's dependence on petroleum, which we import from other states or countries." 

For more information on E85 and flex-fuel vehicles or to find an E85 retailer nearby, see