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E-85: Save Some Money, Save Some Lungs

March 4, 2011

MILWAUKEE - With gas prices on the increase again, filling up a flex-fuel vehicle with E-85 can save a considerable amount of money while helping to reduce pollution.

Gasoline is selling for more than $3 per gallon in much of Wisconsin amid talk that it will hit $5 a gallon by this summer. However, E-85 is still well below $3 a gallon in many parts of the state and can be both a budget-saver and a a great way to help clean the air. More than 200,000 flex-fuel vehicles are on the road in Wisconsin.

Jolene McNutt, coordinator of the American Lung Association's Clean Fuels Program in Wisconsin, says a lot of folks don't know they can burn E-85.

"But we're finding that many consumers are not aware they're driving a flex-fuel vehicle, so that's where the trouble comes in. There's just a little bit of a communications gap between knowing you're driving a flex-fuel vehicle and knowing that you can use E-85."

Motorists can easily find out if they have a flex-fuel vehicle at cleanairchoice.org.

Poor air quality contributes to lung diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), McNutt says, adding that using E-85 leads to cleaner air.

"It reduces a number of the compounds that enter the air including those that cause ozone. So things like volatile organic compounds can be reduced by about 20 percent. Nitrogen oxides are also reduced by 20 percent. Those are the two main components in ozone production."

McNutt also points to the economic benefits of E-85.

"We're producing a product locally, and so we're providing jobs for our local economy right here in our state and across the nation. Ethanol actually produces or can attribute to about 70,000 jobs in our country."

She says fueling with E-85 is a smart choice, to help improve air quality, stimulate the economy, and save money while doing it.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI