As a mom, I look for ways to lessen my carbon footprint, while simultaneously teaching my children to do the same. As a family, we do small things. We recycle, we garden, and we try to conserve our water usage, but another way to lessen our environmental impact is to choose biofuels at the pump. It costs less, it is good for the environment, and it is good for your engines. I have been filling my minivan with E85, a biofuel blend containing 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, for two months now. I won’t go back to traditional gasoline.
What is Ethanol?
Before I began researching the benefits of ethanol, I was anxious about filling my tank with anything but regular unleaded. I wasn’t sure if blends like E85 or E15, a biofuel containing 15 percent ethanol, was compatible with my vehicle. I really didn’t know what it contained. The Nebraska Ethanol Board helped me to find the answers for which I was looking.
Did you know that almost all fuel sold in the U.S. already contains 10 percent biofuels, called E10? You’re already using biofuels today and may not even know it! Now, even higher blends of biofuels, like E15, are making their way to fuel pumps across the country and right here in Omaha.
Vehicles 2001 or newer can use ethanol blends up to 15 percent and it can be found at select Kum & Go stations across town or by visiting E15Omaha.com.
If you drive a flex fuel vehicle, like me, you can take advantage of even higher ethanol blends, meaning they can run on blends all the way up to E85. You can tell if yours is a flex fuel vehicle by the gas cap, reading your owner’s manual, or by visiting Fuel Freedom Foundation for other indicators. Stations that offer E85 at the pump, use yellow pumps to identify the fuel, so finding a gas station that supports ethanol fuel is easy. You can also visit E85Omaha.com for a list of stations in the Metro.
Ethanol Costs Less
My husband and I live about a half an hour from our respective places of employment, so the price of fuel really affects our budget. Since my shift to E85, my trips to the pump are way less expensive. My Dodge Caravan carries 17 gallons, and I was able to fill up for less than $30.00. Although mileage isn’t the same as other fuel blends, I enjoy the fact that each trip to the pump is so much cheaper, saving me money in the long run. A regular stop at most gas stations is usually 40-50 dollars, so I welcome the break on my wallet.
Ethanol is Clean
Ethanol is a cleaner-burning biofuel, which makes its environmental impact so much less than that of fuels that don’t contain ethanol. Made from plants that contain starch, like the corn grown right here in Nebraska, it is way more natural to put this kind of fuel into our tanks. Americans produce so much pollution each day. We know pollution leads to allergies, hyperactivity, and asthma in children. Anything we can do to counter that is wonderful. According to Get BioFuel, “Each year, ethanol production and use decreases greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to removing 20 million cars from the road.” Buying fuel with higher blends of ethanol can drastically change our carbon footprint, allowing us to help our children inherit a healthier planet. The USDA released a report in 2017 that showed greenhouse gas emissions associated with corn-based ethanol in the United States are about forty three percent lower than gasoline!
Ethanol Supports Farmers
Choosing higher blends of ethanol puts money right back into Nebraska’s pockets. Our lovely state is the second-largest biofuels producing state in the country. According to the Nebraska Ethanol Board, one ethanol plant in 1985 has grown to 25 plants, making more than 2 billion gallons. That is more fuel than Nebraskan’s consume in a year! So yes, mamas, if we choose to put E10, E15, or E85 in our tanks, we will be supporting Nebraska farmers and Nebraska’s economy. Choosing higher blends of ethanol for our fuel tanks decreases our dependence on foreign oil, helping to make us more fuel independent as a country. Our country was built by farmers and this is just another way they continue to provide for us.
In Nebraska, there are many retail stations that carry this locally made fuel. Husker Fuel gives a great list of places across Nebraska to fill up with E15. Remember, all vehicles 2001 and newer can use E15; that’s a majority of vehicles on the road today!
Moms, we work hard to set a good example for our children, and caring for our Earth is just another way to do that. If we can buy a fuel that helps our local economy, costs less, and helps our environment, then it’s never been easier to make the right choice for our children.
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