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Palm Beach Post: South Florida gas stations get ethanol blends

EXTRACT: Houston-based Shell Oil Co. spokesman L K Herlong said he expects most Florida Shell stations to provide ethanol-blended gasoline by December. Shell will begin offering E10 in southeast Florida next week, he said.

By SUSAN SALISBURY
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 15, 2008

South Florida motorists such as salesman Angel Gonzalez of West Palm Beach now have another choice at the gasoline pump, even if they aren’t all that familiar with it.

“I don’t know anything about it. I know I have to buy gas,” said Gonzalez, 31, who works in Boca Raton and was filling his Honda Accord with a fuel called E10 at a Hess Express in suburban West Palm Beach.

E10 contains 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol and began arriving in area stations at the end of last year. Among the brands that have E10 at some or all of their South Florida stations are Marathon, Hess, Murphy Oil USA, Pilot and Racetrac.

“Virtually all the marketers in Florida are moving toward 10 percent ethanol blends as rapidly as they are able,” said Matt Hartwig, spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington, D.C.

Pumps containing the blend are marked with a sticker that states: “contains 10 percent or less ethanol.” E10 is suitable for use in virtually all gasoline-powered vehicles, in contrast to E85, a blend with 85 percent ethanol that can be used only in flexible-fuel vehicles.

“E10 is expanding all over the state … It is something we hope will help fuels burn cleaner and reduce dependence on foreign oil,” said Matt Curran, chief of the state’s petroleum bureau at the Florida Department of Agriculture.

Hess Corp. started in November 2007 and completed the rollout of the fuel to all 320 of its Florida stations this month, said Lorrie Hecker, a spokeswoman for Woodbridge, N.J.-based Hess.

“We are seeing a growing interest among government officials and consumers for fuel that is renewable and can be produced in the U.S.,” Hecker said. “All of our gasoline pumps in Florida are E10.”

Marathon stations began selling E10 in Florida in January, and 30 to 35 of the roughly 170 stations under its flag here now have the fuel, said Dan Moenter, an Atlanta-based spokesman for Marathon Petroleum Co. LLC.

Murphy Oil USA, based in El Dorado, Ark., has E10 at 50 of its 85 Florida sites, including Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce, a spokesman said.

Houston-based Shell Oil Co. spokesman L K Herlong said he expects most Florida Shell stations to provide ethanol-blended gasoline by December. Shell will begin offering E10 in southeast Florida next week, he said.

While E10 is new in Florida, it been in use for a number of years everywhere in the country except the Southeast.

Kevin Stork, team leader for fuels technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy, said Florida was late in getting E10 due to factors such as availability of the fuel and the cost of getting it here. Florida has no production of ethanol, which is made primarily from corn.

“Ethanol is now significantly cheaper than petroleum, so cheap that some facilities cannot make money on it,” Stork said.

Stork and other experts agree that E10 is safe to use in a gasoline-powered vehicle produced in the last 15 to 20 years. While E10 is not as fuel-efficient as 100 percent gasoline, Stork said the 2 percent to 3 percent difference is not enough to be noticeable.

Trey Dillard, 23, a construction manager based in Dillard, Ga., stopped to fuel his Ford F-150 truck at the suburban West Palm Hess Express and said he isn’t worried that ethanol will have any adverse effect on his vehicle.

“Ethanol is a racing formula,” Dillard said. “They sell it as an additive. I don’t think it makes any difference.”

Motorists should find E10 is four to nine cents less a gallon than straight gasoline, said Jim Smith, chief executive officer of the 5,600-member Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association in Tallahassee.

Close to half the gas sold in America has up to 10 percent ethanol, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. New research by the state of Minnesota suggests cars and trucks on the road today could just as easily be using gas that contains 20 percent ethanol.

George Nehrbas, 64, owner of a golf-related business who lives in West Palm Beach, first tried E10 in his Chevy Blazer two weeks ago. He was buying it again at the Hess Express after noticing the $3.33-a-gallon fuel was the lowest-priced in the area.

“I was a little afraid of it. My car doesn’t run on ethanol,” Nerhbas said, but he was pleasantly surprised: “I tried it and it worked.”

What is E10?

E10 is a motor vehicle fuel consisting of up to 10 percent ethanol with unleaded gasoline. It is approved for use in all gasoline vehicles. Virtually all automakers warranty their vehicles for the fuel, which burns cleanly and can improve engine performance.

Ethanol is ethyl alcohol and is produced by fermenting sugar, grain or other plant matter using yeasts.

In the U.S. almost all fuel ethanol is produced from corn, and the nation has 8 billion gallons of ethanol production capacity.

Florida has no fuel ethanol production, but eight proposed ethanol plants are in the works.

The state has committed $50 million to ethanol projects in the past two years.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, Florida Energy Office

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/business/content/business/epaper/2008/03/15/a1f_ethanol_0314.html

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2 Comments on “Palm Beach Post: South Florida gas stations get ethanol blends”

  1. #1 Mike
    on Apr 7th, 2008 at 21:41

    This is basically an advertisement, not an article. Here are just some of the lies that are being told…

    The problem is that when the majority of stations are selling Kevin Stork, team leader for fuels technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy, said that “Ethanol is now significantly cheaper than petroleum, so cheap that some facilities cannot make money on it.” and Jim Smith, chief executive officer of the 5,600-member Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association in Tallahassee said that “Motorists should find E10 is four to nine cents less a gallon than straight gasoline.”

    The problem is that when “Virtually all the marketers in Florida are moving toward 10 percent ethanol blends as rapidly as they are able,” as Matt Hartwig, spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington, D.C., says there’s no way to compare the prices of straight gasoline and E10.

    Additionally, Stork admits that “E10 is not as fuel-efficient as 100 percent gasoline” but claims that “the 2 percent to 3 percent difference is not enough to be noticeable.” I don’t know about you but when you’re getting slammed at every corner (higher gas prices, higher food prices, etc. and no increase in salary), I don’t need a decrease in performance of 2%-3% on anything!

  2. #2 Bob Lafferty
    on Mar 20th, 2008 at 16:43

    I just read this article and must tell you that ethanol is one of the biggest rip offs of this day. By adding alcohol to gasoline it lowers the octane and reduces fuel mileage. On both my car and truck I have lost 3 to 4 mpg.
    For more information please refer to ConsumerReports.org – Ethanol-10-06:E85

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