RFA: 2000th E85 station opens in Miami

By Hope Deutscher | May 04, 2009
Report posted on May 28, 2009, at 5:20 p.m. CST

Two thousand E85 station are now operating in the U.S. On May 28, the renewable fuels industry officially celebrated the grand opening of Griffin U-Gas in Davies, Fla., which is located just north of Miami.

E85, which is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, can only be used in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). According to the RFA, there are currently approximately eight million FFVs on the nation's road. There are a total of 26 stations that sell E85 in Florida. The Griffin U-Gas station is one of 12 new E85 stations that have been built in Florida over the last several months.

To celebrate the opening of the 2,000th E85 station, the Renewable Fuels Association sponsored a fuel promotion. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the station offered discounted E85 for $1; at the other 11 E85 stations in Florida, the fuel was sold for $1.85. The Renewable Fuels Association, Protec Fuel Management, Urbieta Oil, U-Gas, General Motors Co., and Enterprise Rent-a-Car assisted with the station's opening and supported the promotional effort.

"What today's all about is celebrating that milestone [the 2000th E85 station], not only in U.S. ethanol history but also the milestone that this particular station is outside the Corn Belt," said Robert White, director of market development for the RFA. "E85 is not just a Midwest niche any more. It's actually coming to the areas where the populations are, in most cases where the flex-fuel vehicle counts are extremely high, and in particular, that's true in the Miami area."

The station is owned by U-Gas, which owns all of the current E85 stations in Florida. "For me personally, it feels really good when I fuel up to know that I'm not sending money to countries that are not that friendly to us," Willie Urbieta, president of U-Gas, said.

"These guys have seen that E85 is going to be the wave of the future, they know the number of flex-fuel vehicles that are in the state, the numbers that are sitting on dealership lots and more importantly the commitment that automakers have and maybe even Congress has with making sure there are more flex-fuel vehicles in the future. They know that if they position themselves first, it will pay dividends down the road," White said.

Over the past 18 months, the Southeast has seen an increase in the availability of ethanol in the form of E10, which White said has brought denatured alcohol in a pure blend that petroleum marketers can blend at any level. "Once you have product brought in for E10 it can just as easily be blended for E85 and so these marketers are starting to see these opportunities especially if they have the equipment already or it's a cheap conversion for them. They'll use one of their stations as a pilot project to test it out."

"Increasing the production and use of ethanol in places like Florida is helping provide stability to our motor fuels market against the volatile and costly nature of the world oil market," RFA President Bob Dinneen said. "Congratulations to Griffin U-Gas, Urbieta Oil, Protec Fuel Management and the people of Florida on the opening of the 2000th E85 station and for their commitment to helping set America on a path toward greater energy independence."

For more information or to find an E85 fueling station near you, visit the RFA's Web site.