E85 Stations Grow 61%, But Pumps Still Scarce
Last year at this time, the number of E85 sites across the United States was less than 750 facilities. During the past year, more than 450 (61 percent growth from last year) new sites have been established, according to a press release from the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC). Currently, there are 70 privately accessed and 1,134 publicly accessed E85 sites. The NEVC says it has assisted with the establishment of all of these facilities, providing technical, promotional and/or financial support. However, while there are about 5 million “flexible fuel” vehicles on U.S. roads, the nation’s roughly 167,000 retail gas outlets have been slow to invest the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to add E85, according to an Associated Press report. E85 is as much as 50 cents cheaper per gallon than regular unleaded gasoline. Prices tend to be lower in the Midwest corn belt and higher on the coasts because of transportation costs. But since ethanol has less energy than gasoline, fuel economy drops 10 to 15 percent when cars run on E85.New York implemented incentives last year by waiving the 40 cents per gallon state gasoline tax and offering to pay up to half of the installation costs for the pumps. Yet only one new E85-capable station opened as a result, the AP report states.The NEVC says it is currently working with partners to encourage that Congressional appropriations are made available to continue to grow the numbers of E85 stations across the nation.