E85 promotions offered at three locations

By Holly Jessen | May 21, 2010
Posted May 26, 2010

Two organizations are sponsoring E85 promotions this week, selling the cleaner burning fuel for 85 cents a gallon at locations in Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

One of those events is sponsored by UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, which recently announced one of its planned promotions had been cancelled due to unspecified political reasons. This promotion has been in the works for months and has nothing to do with the one that was cancelled, said Leticia Phillips, a government and institutional relations employee for UNICA.

The event happens on May 26 at a McClure Oil gas station in Indianapolis, Ind. For 85 minutes, E85 fuel will be offered at a 85 cent per gallon discount to promote ethanol, a renewable, environmentally-friendly fuel that is cheaper and cleaner. It is being sponsored by UNICA, McClure Oil, Indy Racing League and the Brazilian Trade and Export Promotion Agency.

The IZOD IndyCar Series Show Car and Firestone Indy Lights drivers will be there and the first 20 cars receive two tickets for the Indy 500. Sugarcane ethanol is provided to the IZOD IndyCar Series through a sponsorship with UNICA. Due to availability, the fuel used might not always be sugarcane ethanol from Brazil, Phillips said. UNICA started the promotion last year and, this year, already held one in Birmingham, Ala. Two similar promotions are planned later on this year.

UNICA would, of course, like to see more Brazilian ethanol used here in the U.S., Phillips said. Part of the goal of the event is to highlight how Brazilian ethanol can help the nation cut back on its dependence on foreign oil. Overall, however, the goal is to get people to use ethanol. Of the about 8 or 9 million flex-fuel vehicle owners in the U.S., only about 10 percent know they can burn ethanol in their cars. "The whole purpose of the event is really to raise awareness of ethanol as a fuel," she said.

The other E85 promotion is being billed as a biofuel border battle in Minnesota and Wisconsin. On May 27, two fuel retailers on opposite sides of the St. Croix River are holding a rush-hour special on E85. A gas station in Hudson, Wisc., and one in West Lakeland, Minn., will sell E85 discounted by 85 cents a gallon for two hours. Nafaka, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association mascot, and Goldy Gopher, the University of Minnesota's mascot will be on hand at the Minnesota gas station and Alice in Dairyland, Wisconsin's official agricultural ambassador, will greet customers at the Wisconsin location.

The promotions are supported by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, Holiday Companies, Erickson Oil, American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest and Minnesota and Wisconsin Clean Air Choice Teams.

CORRECTION: The fuel is being sold for a discount of 85 cents per gallon, not 85 cents each gallon.