Local News

Alternative Fuel Seen as Tough Sell in Triangle

Posted December 26, 2006

Alternative fuels are getting a rough reception at the pump in the Triangle.

Supporters of alternative fuel claim ethanol-based fuels like E-85 are the way of the future and a solution to dependence on foreign oil. Critics, however, contend corn-based fuel gets lower mileage and need more work before they're seen as a viable solution.

A Triangle-area gas station owner said he was recently offered a $25,000 grant from the Triangle J Council of Governments to install one E-85 pump. The owner turned down the money, saying the alternative pump would not draw enough customers.

One thing that might attract customers is the price. At the Triangle's only E-85 station, off Highway 55 in Durham, the price is $1.99 a gallon for the alternative fuel. However, even backers claim they have a long way to go.

Tobin Freid, Triangle J's project coordinator for air and energy, led an unsuccessful effort to get a southeast Raleigh Exxon station to take the E-85 grant. Now, there's a new push.

"My goal is to get an E-85 station in downtown Raleigh by the end of 2007," he said.

Aside from the Durham E-85 station, the nearest place for Triangle drivers to get the alternative fuel is Southern Pines.
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  • builder276 Dec 26, 2006

    The problem is the deminished fuel milage with the e-85. A vehicle that normally gets 28 mpg with E-87, would probably only get 21 mpg est, or less with E-85. In order to justify the reduced mileage, the price would have to be somewhere in the $1.50/gal range (using the current $2.21/gal price). and even then, if I'm just breaking even, why change. The price would realy have to be $1.20/gal in order to motivate me. I hope the investing parties are not under the impression that if they build it, we will come. Motivate us by getting the price right.