Minnesota: E85 sales increase; gasoline sales drop

By Erin Voegele | August 04, 2008
Web exclusive posted August 28, 2008 at 12:47 p.m. CST

On Aug. 25, the American Lung Association of Minnesota released a snapshot of Minnesota's changing fuel consumption. July 2008 sales of E85 in Minnesota were 16 percent higher than sales in July 2007. During that same time period gasoline sales decreased 10 percent - from approximately 233 million gallons in July 2007 to approximately 211.9 million gallons in July 2008. Monthly sales of E85 are currently averaging between 2 million gallons and 2.5 million gallons.

The data was provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. According to Robert Moffitt, the American Lung Association's director of media relations, the increase in E85 use appears to be statewide, but doesn't take into account the mid-range ethanol blends being marketed by some Minnesota retailers.

"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," Moffitt said. "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."

It is estimated that approximately 200,000 flexible-fuel vehicles are currently on Minnesota roads, with approximately 350 stations in the state offering E85.

The American Lung Association's E85 Everywhere program is currently accepting grant application from fuel retailers who want to add E85 or biodiesel pumps to their facilities. The grant program began in August 2007 and to date has awarded 56 grants. Station owners interested in learning more about the program can contact the American Lung Association of Minnesota.