SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota, the nation's per capita leader in use of biofuels, reached another significant milestone on the path toward oil independence and cleaner skies when the state's 200th E85 outlet opened this week.

E85 fuel, which consists of 85 percent ethanol and just 15 percent gasoline, is designed for use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). E85-capable FFVs may operate on any blend of gasoline or E85. More than 140,000 FFVs are on the road in Minnesota, and more than 5 million have been registered nationwide.

"The announcement of Minnesota's 200th E85 gas station adds to our state's status as the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy," stated Governor Tim Pawlenty, a leading advocate of renewable fuels. "Minnesotans can now fill up on E85 from the North Woods and Iron Range to the Twin Cities and prairies of southern Minnesota.

"We've proven E85 and flex-fuel vehicles are an important part of our nation's renewable fuel future. Using renewable fuel is good for our environment, our rural economy and our national security and we need to continue encouraging greater access and use of E85 and other renewable fuels."

The American Lung Association of Minnesota, making the announcement on behalf of the statewide program, indicated it was impossible to identify exactly which station was the 200th in the North Star State.

"In helping retailers with installing and marketing E85, we have had a 'flurry' of new outlets signing on over the last month," said Tim Gerlach, director of outdoor air programs for the American Lung Association of Minnesota. "E85 growth during the last year is remarkable. The Minnesota station count has doubled and E85 sales have tripled. Drivers are choosing E85, which ultimately leads to reductions in tailpipe and greenhouse gas emissions."

The ALAMN maintains a Web site where drivers will find listings of E85 stations, E85-capable FFVs, and even a price forum, through which visitors share information on E85 pricing. Although local fuel prices may vary, presently, E85 in the region is typically 25 and 40 cents less per gallon than regular unleaded. For updates on E85 stations and developments from across the United States, visit the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition site.

Gerlach credits the wide availability of E85 in Minnesota to strong, bipartisan support from lawmakers and the work of a public-private "E85 Team" including: Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Coalition for Ethanol, Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture, Minnesota Dept. of Commerce Energy Division, Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, AgStar Financial Services, National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, U.S. Dept. of Energy Clean Cities and the American Lung Association of Minnesota.

SOURCE: The American Lung Association of Minnesota via PR Newswire.