A Baltimore gas station, Three Brothers Gas and Go, and fuel distribution company Protec Fuel, have joined forces to launch Baltimore’s first E85 station.
“I noticed all the flex-fuel vehicles coming through and was surprised there was nowhere to fuel with E85 in Baltimore,” said owner Paul Goeller. “As a mechanic, I wanted to give a choice that not only is better for the environment and our country, but has certain engine benefits such as higher octane, performance and a cleaner engine.”
E85 is a 85/15 percent blend of ethanol and gasoline and can be used in flex-fuel vehicles.
Steve Walk, a Protec Fuel VP, noted that many people have flex-capable cars and don’t even know it.
Major car manufacturers including Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and General Motors all offer flex-fuel models, and there are over 16.5 million on the road today.
E85 is promoted as benefiting both the environment and individual drivers.
Ethanol is farm-produced and renewable, so some are hailing it as the answer to America’s dependence on fossil fuels in general — and foreign fossil fuels in particular. The carbon dioxide emissions of ethanol are offset by carbon dioxide uptake in the plants grown to produce the fuel.
Some proponents also believe that E85 benefits engine health and expands the lifespans of engines. Since engine problems require some of the most expensive types of auto repairs, this can be a significant savings for drivers over time.
In the meantime, however, E85 offers lower fuel efficiency than regular gasoline.
Car site Edmunds tested a Chevy Tahoe on both gasoline and E85 and found that, at least for this truck, E85 was 26.5% less fuel efficient than gasoline.
“We applaud the pursuit of energy independence and the financial boost ethanol production will give to American farmers. … [But] while it could be a part of the solution, it is clearly not a silver bullet,” the Edmunds writeup concludes.
The website Go E85 lists the new location as the 16th in Maryland. The nearest E85 station to Crisfield is in Hayes, Virginia, about a three-hour drive away.