Low-cost fuel made locally


ST. ANSGAR, Iowa – A north Iowa gas station is finding ways to use local resources to make your next trip to the pump much more affordable.

In St. Ansgar, Mark McKinley is bringing a whole new meaning to buying local after installing new blended fuel pumps at Fuel Time.

These pumps offer a variety of environmentally friendly, and surprisingly low-cost fuels being created in north Iowa.

Everything from E10, E15, E30 and E85 are now available at one pump for easy access. This includes diesel options already available.

“Prices vary up-and-down, but as of late, were buying E85 right from the alcohol plant north of St. Ansgar. They’re able to sell it to us, and we’re having it shipped here.The people who are running flex-fuel cars or trucks are just thrilled. They can fill up their tank for $20 or $35,” said McKinley.

The ethanol provided by Absolute Energy of St. Ansgar is what gives Mark the edge to provide the cheap alternative for his town.

While local residents, like Jon Koster do not drive E85 friendly cars, he says the environmentally friendly option, simply makes sense.

“It would be nice if you can use it in every vehicle we have. Especially when the price difference is this big. With the price of oil high, and corn going lower, it makes sense that E85 or ethanol production is going to increase, and it’s going to be in more demand,” said Koster.

In a recent bill introduced by Congressman Bruce Braley, the country of origin labeling for fuels act would require gas stations to post the country of origin of the fuel right on the pump.

Therefore, giving consumers the option of choice.

Most 2001 and newer cars can operate with E10 and E15 fuel, although you may see a difference in fuel economy.

According to the US Department of Energy, vehicles will typically get 3 to 4 percent fewer miles per gallon on E10 and 4 to 5 percent fewer on E15 than compared to 100 percent gasoline.

However, advocates say that the cost does not out-weigh the benefits of burning clean fuels.

“It’s just a good deal, and it’s better for the environment. There are some negative sides to it that people bring up, but all-in-all, it’s been good for our economy right here in north Iowa,” said Koster.

“It’s kind of amazing. When you’re driving by the cornfield, there is a pretty good chance that alcohol, made from that very corn, might be in your tank this fall,” said McKinley.

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