Four Ways to Find E85

June 26, 2008
Earlier this month, I shared six ways to cut gas prices forever. Surprisingly, boosting ethanol use was one of the more controversial points with readers and colleagues.

No, ethanol isn't the perfect fuel, far from it. The ethanol bashers have good points; the fuel's more energy-intensive to produce, and the Cato Institute says it's dirtier and costlier than gas.

However, ethanol's the only alternative fuel on my list that gives us a chance to use today's infrastructure with a different fuel that we can import cheaply from a friendly country in our own hemisphere. And the future potential of producing it stateside from biomass and grasses means it's time to plan now for a much larger ethanol piece of the pie.

Instead of dismissing the more than 6 million E85-capable vehicles on the road, we need to seek it out and make sure ethanol producers know it's in demand. If you have an E85-powered vehicle, why not try out how it works, boost sales, and give fuel makers the financial incentive to build the next generation of waste-derived ethanol plants? Here are four ways to find fuel for your E85-capable car or truck:

  • OnStar: just push your magic blue button and ask where is the nearest E85-equipped station

  • Mapquest: the Web-mapping site has the information, along with a gas-prices survey to find the cheaper alternative fuel

  • Plan ahead by visiting the E85 manufacturer's Web site and find a station on your route before you leave

  • Use your navigation system; systems like TomTom have the data included in their maps

You might even get a financial windfall if your state is underwriting the cost of an E85 vehicle or a fill-up. More important, you'll be sending a message around the world that we're ready for "real change"--the kind that comes from our wallets and pocketbooks.
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