SAINT PAUL, Minn., Aug. 25 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