Make Your Own E85

Seeing that it's my last day here with TMC, I thought I'd leave the dear readers of this alternative power blog with something very cool.

Believe it or not, you can make your own E85 fuel.

Check it out for yourself:

6 Steps to Making Your Own E85 Fuel

Be sure to stick around for more exciting news on alt power from the editorial team at TMC!

E85 Purchasing Guide


The folks over at the NEVC have released their 2007 E85 purchasing guide, available now by visiting their website.

In the guide, readers will find

  • E85 FAQs
  • 2007 FFV models
  • Private/public E85 stations

“There are currently 1,065 E85 fueling stations throughout the U.S. and about six million FFVs driving on American roads,” said Michelle Kautz, deputy director, NEVC, in the NEVC press release. “This booklet will help inform consumers of this information.”

Want to know more? Check out the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition:



Peter Rugg of the Muscatine Journal reports that there is, in fact, a future for renewable fuels according to a researcher of Iowa State University.

With regards to E85, Rugg writes that John Mironowski:

.... believes the mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline will be an essential component of the bio-fuel industry, and that as infrastructure expands, there will be no reason for automobile manufacturers not to develop compatible engines.

We can only assume (and hope) that the industry is moving in this direction.

Does E85 Really Cost That Much?

It’s becoming one of the age old arguments. Did Babe Ruth really curse the Sox? Does the Lochness Monster really exist? Does E85 really cost that much to install?
Okay. So maybe it’s not that quite popular of a debate, however, among the industry experts, the quarrel that E85 costs too much is starting to pick up some speed.
The case for station owners is that not only is E85 expensive to install, it’s not selling, so the lack of consumer interest is a major obstacle in getting E85 off the ground nation wide. Granted, there are reasons that the 85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline formula isn’t popular among the masses -- not many people have invested in a flexible fuel vehicle just yet.
The numbers don’t measure up. It has been reported that a dispensing system can cost $75,000, whereas converting a single pump can cost $15,000. What could make the difference is many states offer incentive programs to assist with the installation and implementation of E85 pumps and stations, such as tax credits and fuel tax exemptions. But it seems that it’s not so much about the refunds available to providers as it is more about the cost of equipment and the current lack of sales that don’t pay.
This article reports that it costs approximately $200,000 to fit an entire gas station for the E85 option.  (I’ve yet to find a source that also cites this price.)
(By the way, in that article, the reporter makes it sound like the $.54 tariff per gallon on corn juice hurts the, who the heck imports corn juice? Do we not have enough here?)
According to The Bay City Times:
As far as biodiesel pumps go, we've got to wonder whether any new equipment or converted gear is even needed.
Bus fleets, truck fleets, farmers and others report that their expensive engines run better than ever using biodiesel blends.
No changes needed.
In a time of war, impending gas crisis, natural disasters, et al, it would, you know, be wise to start thinking about moving forward with the E85….

Sir Richard Branson's FFV


Seems that the Virgin boss is quite the environmentally sound driver. Not only is Sir Richard Branson an adventurer at heart, he supports E85 and is now zipping around in his Saab 9-5 BioPower, a flexible fuel vehicle.

According to, a UK motoring search engine, Sir Richard said

“I am convinced that biofuels are the way forward, both for the car and aviation industries, which is a vision we share with Saab. Now we need to extend that vision to others.  It's high-time that flex-fuel cars, such as the Saab 9-5 BioPower, are given the same concessions in the UK as other green cars, like for example, exemption from London's Congestion Charge.” 

It's nice to see a more reknown icon support the efforts of bioethanol. Goodonya, Sir Richard.

The Big 3 and Pres. Bush


Seems that the three big chiefs in the auto industry have a few concerns that they'd like to address with Mr. President.  According to (via MSNBC) executives from the three largest American-based auto makers will bare the truth to the President about healtchare, trade policies and yes, even alternative fuels.

Earlier in June, the motor company triumvirate (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) committed to producing double the amount of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) in an effort to put the pressure on Congress to make more available renewable fuels, such as E85.

This week, however, the same three companies are concerned about the lack of distribution of ethanol and, according to the report, will plea for a wider distribution of the alternative fuel. The lack of E85 availability makes the big three's promise seem moot, what, with all of these FFVs and nary a pump to utilize the stuff. It almost seems silly.

Despite the rigorous attempts to heighten awareness of E85 and alternative fuels, the Governement (President Bush)still questions investing in it. In the article, it says:

Al Hubbard, director of the National Economic Council, told the Financial Times last week that Mr Bush wanted to ensure there were the right "incentives to invest" in alternative fuels.

I have to admit that I kind of scratched my head at this statement because, first of all, what better incentive is there than that of giving to your homeland? Investing in domestic fuels, as I've stated many times over in this blog, is the direction we should be moving in for the obvious reasons that we won't rely so heavily on fuels elsewhere, which, as we've all learned has caused some, well, problems.

But...but....the article also reports

Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, said last week the president wanted to reaffirm his support for the US car industry's "growth and success".

Hmm. Interesting. Perhaps reaffirming support should come in the form of making available E85 and thus, our motor companies can produce more FFVs, and henceforth, we'll be a more self-reliant country. I realize it's a lot more complicated than it sounds, but I just don't understand what the obstacles are.


Upon further searches, VeraSun an ethanol producer, quotes GWB on their Website as saying:

"In low concentrations, ethanol can be used in any vehicle. And with minor modifications, vehicles can run on fuel blend that includes 85 percent ethanol and only 15 percent gasoline. ... ethanol helps communities to meet clean air standards, farmers to find new markets for their products, and America to replace foreign crude oil with a renewable source grown right here in the nation's heartland. Together, ethanol and biodiesel present a tremendous opportunity to diversify our supply of fuel for cars and buses and trucks and heavy-duty vehicles."

So, to revisit the notion that Bush is waiting for the right incentives to invest, one would believe based on the aforementioned statement that there are, in fact, incentives. Again, the obstacles are not clear to me. Thoughts?

Speaking of Minnesota...


It's not quite the news as the previous entry....

However, it was noted in a report issued by the AP that the Dems, particularly gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch, chalks up the loss of Minnesota to a lack of knowledge of E85. Well, ok it was one of three things, but let's focus on the E85 snafu for a moment.

In the article, it says

Hatch said he suffered in areas of rural Minnesota with plants that make E85, a fuel blend that contains 85 percent ethanol. Hatch describes his poor showing in those areas without mentioning the precise incident or lieutenant governor nominee Judi Dutcher by name.

One week before Election Day, Dutcher was caught on film flubbing questions about E85 during a stop in Alexandria.

It was because of this that they were slammed in western and southern counties which, as luck would have it, are where 17 ethanol plants are located. Oops.

So the moral of the story is, if you're running for governor in a state that has ethanol plants, do your homework and learn about it so you don't look like a fool when it's time to talk to the press.

The latest in E85 news today. Check it out:

In order to meet the 20 percent standard, the state plans to increase the use of E85, a fuel containing 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Part of the state’s plan to increase ethanol usage is to make E85 conversion kits available to the general public.
Until recently, only vehicles designated by the manufacturer as “flexible-fuel” could use E85. However, a Brazilian technology called FlexTek now allows E85 to be used as a fuel in most modern fuel injected engines. FlexTek is US patent-pending, and owned by XcelPlus Global Holdings, Inc. (Pink Sheets: XPGH) . Minnesota State University, Mankato Center for Automotive Research (MnCAR) will be conducting research on FlexTek conversion kits.
In a formal letter requesting the EPA to allow Minnesota to be a test state for E85 fuel conversion kits, Governor Pawlenty noted that FlexTek was developed in Brazil and is currently used by more 50,000 vehicles there. Brian McClung, director of communications for the Governor’s office stated “Certainly, using E85 conversion kits would be a great tool to help us meet that (20% E85) goal.”
In an October 2006 article in Ethanol Producer Magazine (, McClung said that expanding E85 use and stations in Minnesota has been challenging because both car companies and oil companies currently require greater demand by consumers before they are willing to make E85 more available. “ The governor has proposed testing the E85 conversion kits as a way to break through the chicken and egg dilemma,” McClung said, noting that Brazil was able to transition to greater ethanol use by using conversion kits.
FlexTek has been the subject of NBC and FOX affiliate newscasts. According to Bill R. Smith, President of XcelPlus Global Holdings, Inc. " We are very excited at the political support and media attention our products are now getting as we pursue EPA certification.
XcelPlus Global Holdings markets its technologies through strategic trading partners including XcelPlus International Inc (Other OTC:XLPI.PK - News) which manufactures and markets the Flextek, as well as a line of automobile alternative fuel and chemical products.

The Elections and Alternative Power


The outcome of the elections this week triggered a period of what will surely be a power-sharing effort, what with the Dems taking the 4-year rule out from the Republicans.

But in all of this “power-sharing” I can’t help but wonder, beyond the changes we will see in Iraq, immigration reforms, etc – will we see a change in power, and by power I mean alternative power resources?

The people have spoken and it’s clear that the administration wants to do things. We are in an era of change and the pendulum has certainly gone the other way. Perhaps it’s not out of the ordinary to assume that, with this change, maybe there will be a focus on our own resources for alternative fuels?

Maybe the government will push for a more widespread availability of E85. Maybe we’ll invest more in “greener” energies. Maybe we’ll live to tell the next generation about how we removed our dependency on foreign fuels and started to rely on our own?


It’s too early to tell what will happen. The focus is primarily on foreign affairs, the war in Iraq and other reforms. But, as a person who utilizes wind and hydropower as a supplier for my own home, I hope that we will also see a change in the energy and fuel sector as well.

Gov. Schwarzenegger offered some positive commentary on a grant to the state of California for 15 public E85 stations furnished by the DoE.

Statement below (via One Bakersfield Online)

"This half million dollar grant is great news for the state and will help build 15 additional ethanol fueling stations to give Californians another option that will help diversify our energy supply. It will help clean our air, encourage more people to purchase flex fuel vehicles and allow Californians to continue leading the nation in environmental protection.

"The choice to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and the move to a cleaner economy is a choice we make for the future. Since I became Governor, I have worked hard to bring Californians an alternative to oil. I signed an executive order to create the Hydrogen Highway and build a network of hydrogen fueling stations along these roadways and in the urban centers that they connect to by 2010."

E85 Prices Down


Looks like the price of E85 is down....just under $2 in Midwestern states.

Full release for details:

October turned out to be an exceptional month for drivers using E85 as the price of E85 continued to fall across the Nation. Not only is the price falling but the price spread between unleaded and E85 has widened to roughly .40 cents per gallon in many areas.

The fuels price spread is becoming a strong incentive for consumers who have never tried E85 to make the switch and for ethanol to gain market share against the Oil Companies gasoline products.

The price of E85 is below $2.00 a gallon in 7 States, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska.

Markets of interest include: Missouri where the lowest price of E85 in the Nation was reported in Perryville at $1.61.

Maybe even more remarkable is that in Nebraska E85 prices which maintained the Nations highest average e85 price over the summer (at one point over $3 per gallon) dropped to $1.99. is finding that the lowest prices for E85 is almost exclusively located at independent stations and or stations that buy directly form the ethanol producers. Two examples of such companies are Renew E85 stations in Wisconsin supplied by Utica Energy and the BreakTime stations in Missouri supplied by ethanol producer Mid-Missouri Energy and distributed by MFA Oil. These companies are consistently able to deliver E85 to the consumer for less than unleaded.

Forecast: Expect E85 to rise .05-.10 cents a gallon starting in November as more gasoline is added to the ethanol creating "winter blend," where the standard ratio becomes 70% ethanol and 30% gasoline compared to summer blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Winter blend is designed to let Flex Fuel vehicles start easier in during the cold winter months. is the first and only site dedicated to covering the price of E85.

E85 Corrosion Clarity


The NY Times reported this week that ethanol, particularly that from E85 pumps could have corrosive qualities, thus serving as a problem at the pump.

However, a release from the NEVC states that, despite speculation, the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) released an updated statement from their rescinded memo (got that?) citing that "there are no documented reports of corrosion for UL listed or recognized components used with E85."

There are no safety issues. There were no field incidents.

Before everyone gets all hyped up about it, get the facts.

From the NEVC release:

"It's unfortunate that this storm of confusion has resulted in a number of closures of existing E85 fueling stations and the delay in openings of others. The UL October 5 announcement inadvertently established a level of doubt in the minds of fire and safety officials regarding the safety of existing E85 dispensing equipment,” stated Phil Lampert, Executive Director of the NEVC. "We have personally met with the Director of Government Affairs for UL and have had daily conversations with senior UL management. We believe that much of the current confusion has been addressed with the subsequent UL E85 update announcements. Our management and staff are working very closely with UL officials and will be attending a technical meeting to discuss this matter. We are confident that UL is aggressively addressing this matter and are working with them to establish proper certification standards.”

You be the judge.

Alt Power links of interest


Let's see what Googling has brought me in the likes of fuel-related news...

I found yet another reason to keep attending my Weight Watchers meetings. Apparently, the more you weigh, the more fuel your car will burn (which makes sense, naturally because any weight added to your car will in turn make it work harder to move up and down highways....)

Weight Gain Means Lower Gas Mileage

Seriously. It's all about motivation, people. If getting into that suit wasn't enough, now you can write down in your journals that losing weight is good for your car, too.


Plug-in vehciles still a ways to go....

Looks like us technology loving freaks will not see a return on our investments for some time. But that's ok. Because we love technology and alt power for the sake of sounding smart and different, right? According to this article in the New York Times, plug-ins just ain't ready...



Officially Announced!


In case you haven't been reading, now is your chance to get the news that this blog is up and running!

Also, some of you may remember me as Michelle Pasquerello. Just for the record, I got married in September and did the name-changing thing. I figured 6 letters was better than 11 when it came to the last name

Stay tuned for more news in the Alt Power space....gotta tip or alt power idea? Comment below!


I've never heard of something so ridiculous in my life. Well, there was that one tabloid paper about Bat Boy or something...but in real life news, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) announced its plans to reduce oil production for the sake of cost reduction to the consumer IN AN EFFORT to discourage consumers from alternative fuels (E85, in particular).

I'll admit that part of me read "cheaper gas" and I did a little dance (I recently purchased a 4-wheel drive that, while fuel efficient, eats gas a bit more than my former vehicle) but after further scrutiny of the press release from the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, I was quickly turned off by OPEC's decision. Sure, thanks buddies for thinking of us and our pockets and what not, however, keep in mind that there are some of us out here who aren't looking to E85 so we can save a buck -- we'd just rather put the dollars where they, at home to our fellow Americans.

Now, before you go slaying my comment box with "but you just said you purchased a 4-wheel drive which is clearly not an FFV NOR a hybrid, so what gives with the push for E85, Michelle?" I hear you. I do. But keep in mind that I am a New Yorker and FFVs are not only NOT available in my area, there are also no public E85 stations here in the north east, so it wouldn't make sense for me right now. You can bet your sweet bippy that I'd be on that as soon as it's available, though. So, I'll end that disclaimer right there.

OPEC wants to make it easier for you to choose E10 over E85 by making it cheaper for you and, well, richer for them.

It's nice to see though that all this talk of E85 has someone shaking in their boots, right? Perhaps I am overusing my right to hyperbole, but come on. It's not only the upcoming congressional candidates that are lowering the prices for your vote (and don't argue with me and say that is just a mere coincidence!), but the dudes responsible for exporting this stuff want to make sure there is enough to go around for those investing in the petroleum industry.....and we all know who you are.


1 2 3 Next

Tag Cloud

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Around TMCnet Blogs

Latest Whitepapers