A steady stream of customers pulled off the road from their afternoon commute on last Monday and drove up to the pumps at the Coborn’s/’Lil Dukes fueling station in Hastings to save money on ethanol-blended fuels.
Clean air experts from American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and Minnesota Corn Growers Association, answered motorists’ questions and asked them to fill out a survey to find out their attitudes about ethanol and where it fits in to their driving.
Some motorists, unaware of the promotion, thanked these experts for the information. E15 — a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent regular unleaded — can be used in any vehicle manufactured 2001 or later, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. For some, the information about savings and about clean air was enough to tip the scales and get them to try E15 fuel. Others said they would think about it.
A broad coalition that included Minnesota Corn and American Lung brought E15 to Minnesota in 2013.
Those who pressed the dispenser button for E15 got 15 cents per gallon off the price during the promotion. It’s a double bargain, considering that E15 already costs less than regular gas, even though E15 boosts octane by one point.
In addition to the savings, customers left with coupons for more ethanol savings, along with pamphlets to tell them where to pull in for E15 fuel throughout Minnesota. There are currently 45 E15 locations across the state.
“We’re changing minds and getting people to try this new fuel, one customer at a time,” said Lisa Thurstin, a clean fuels expert with American Lung Association who took surveys and answered questions at the event. “This is a way for the average motorist to have an impact on clean air for everybody.”
Ethanol burns more completely than gasoline, and so reduces fine particulate matter in engine exhaust, some of which is carcinogenic. Gasoline auto-emissions also increase the incidence of asthma.
If you missed last Monday’s promotion, you can still save on ethanol-blended at Coborn’s/’Lil Dukes locations in Pipestone (today from 4-6 p.m.), New Prague (Thursday from 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.) and Belle Plaine (Thursday from 4-6 p.m.)