New Raleigh gas station pumps B20, E85 biofuels

Posted November 16, 2011 6:15 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2011 8:12 p.m. EST

— A new Raleigh gas station offering two types of biofuels opened Wednesday, bringing more fuel options to the Triangle that contribute to energy independence and a better environment.

Crown Express Mart, at 1210 New Bern Ave., is the first place in Raleigh to have both B20 and E85 at its pumps. B20, made up of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel, can go into any diesel vehicle and usually costs about the same as gasoline.

E85, however, which is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, costs less than regular gas, but it takes more E85 to travel the same distance, said Anne Tazewell with the North Carolina Solar Center.

Tazewell said that bringing biofuel to the Triangle was a great step in the right direction.

"We have a long way to go in making these fuels more available in North Carolina," she said. "That's why we are grateful for these owners stepping up to the plate and providing more fuel choice for the Capital City.

To kick off its grand opening celebration, the Crown station offered E85 for just 85 cents a gallon for 85 minutes Wednesday morning.

There are more than 40 types of flex-fuel cars that can run on ethanol or gas. That means more than 236,000 drivers in North Carolina could fill up on E85, a choice Tazewell said she hopes more people will make.

"We're spending a billion dollars a day on imported oil, most of it coming from countries that are hostile to us," she said. "Here, we can support the American farmer and burn a fuel that is cleaner for our engines."

Steve Walk, executive director of Protec Fuel, which supplies E85 across the Southeast, said that people choosing to fill up with ethanol allows for more innovation in the future.

"I'm working on a project that is going to make ethanol out of waste, out of garbage," Walk said. "(But) unless there is a market for E85 and other alternative fuel, those types of technologies won't be invented and won't be produced."