BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s closer to moonshine than gasoline and it’s at the pump at only one Baltimore gas station.
Alex DeMetrick reports it’s a strong blend of ethanol designed to clean the air—if it catches on.
Just off Frederick Avenue in west Baltimore, A-1 Auto is selling more than standard gasoline. It’s the first station in the city to sell E-85.
“E-85 is an alcohol-based fuel. It’s made from renewable energy. Mostly it’s corn,” said A-1 Auto owner Paul Goeller.
Corn is America’s primary ingredient for ethanol—not a new resource. Distilled much like moonshine, ethanol has been added to gasoline for years. The difference is E-85 is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, designed to be used in cars with flex-fuel systems.
“It’s a cleaner-burning fuel. It has higher octane in regular fuel. It’s cheaper per gallon than regular gas but the fuel economy is not quite as good as regular gas and that variance is going to depend on the vehicle it’s going in,” Goeller said.
Eleven million vehicles in the US have flex-fuel systems. Newer ones come with yellow gas caps matching the yellow nozzles on E-85 pumps, which are only just beginning to roll out.
While this is the first E-85 station in Baltimore, don’t expect one to pop up on every corner—at least not in the immediate future.
Remember, only 15% of what goes into E-85 comes out of an oil well.
“There’s going to be great resistance by gas stations that are owned by fuel companies because obviously they want to sell their petroleum. Whereas, I’m an independent shop and an independent business owner and I try to sell things best for the customer and I feel the E-85 is the best value for the customer right now,” Goeller said.
Currently, only two other gas stations sell E-85 in Maryland: one in Annapolis and one in Gaithersburg.
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