It’s official: E15 and E30 are now available in Minnesota, giving drivers more choices beyond regular gasoline when it’s time to fuel their vehicles.
With TV cameras rolling and a steady stream of customers pulling in to fill up their tanks at Penn Minnoco off Penn Ave. in south Minneapolis, the ribbon was cut Wednesday morning on four new flex fuel pumps that dispense E15 (a blend of 15 percent ethanol, 5 percent more than what is blended in all Minnesota unleaded gasoline), E30 (a blend of 30 percent ethanol) and regular gasoline.
Joining Penn Minnoco station owner Richard Bohnen at the ceremony were Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Speaker of the House Paul Thissen and leaders of a coalition that helped bring E15 to Minnesota.
“I believe in offering customers more choices and letting them decide what is best for both their vehicle and their wallet,” Bohnen said. Both E15 and E30 have been available at his station for the last week or so and the response has been fantastic.
“The early feedback has been that there is no difference in how their cars drive,” Bohnen said. “People are really excited about this.”
E15 is safe to use in vehicles manufactured in 2001 or later. E30 is to be used in flex fuel vehicles only.
Both blends are less expensive than gasoline, are produced from renewable corn grown right here in the United States and help improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is really a chance for my neighbors to take another step to do two very important things,” said Thissen, who lives one block away from the Penn Minnoco station. “First, we can use these increased ethanol blends to reduce air pollution. Second, by using these blends, we’re reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”
Minnesota has a storied history as a leader in the ethanol and biofuels industry. With E15 now available in the state, that tradition continues.
“This is another great day in Minnesota biofuels development,” Frederickson said. “I trust it will only be a matter of time before more consumers will be looking for these ethanol blends when they pull in to fill up at stations across the state.”
For now, consumers can find the blends at Penn Minnoco, where E15 was $3.04 and E30 was $2.91 compared to $3.19 for regular unleaded on Wednesday. In the near future, E15 will be available at stations in Coon Rapids, Maplewood, Shakopee and Willmar.
The fueling equipment of the new Penn Minnoco service station was made possible, in part, through a public-private partnership between the station owner and a coalition comprised of the American Lung Association in Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Growth Energy, Minnesota Biofuels Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association/Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council.
Since E15 can be used in all vehicles manufacture in 2001 or after, it increases the potential customer base for ethanol and helps corn farmers add value to their product while meeting the growing demand for more choices at the pump.
“E15 and E30 helps meet rising consumer demand for a more affordable alternative to gasoline and strengthens the market for corn grown right here in Minnesota,” said Minnesota Corn Growers Association president Ryan Buck. “This is another milestone in the long history of Minnesota corn farmers and their partners being leaders in the renewable fuels market.”
To see additional photos from the event, check out Minnesota Corn’s Facebook page.