Want to know where you can buy E85? There's an app for that now.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has launched a new application for Garmin and TomTom GPS units that that maps out the location of E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline) for users with flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).
FFV's are vehicles that are able to use either gasoline (which has up to 10% ethanol by content) or E-85 ethanol, which is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. There are over 7 to 8 million FFVs on the road today. This new feature will eliminate the frustration many FFV owners have of not knowing where they can fill up with higher level ethanol blends, like E85, by showing the exact location of the nearest E85 pumps.
Using the Garmin navigation system, FFV owners can download station locations and program their device to direct them to nearby E85 stations. The Garmin application is available for download on ChooseEthanol.com. There, consumers can download individual state data, a combination of states, or national data directly to their computer and then to their Garmin devices. Directions for installing this data are available on the site. TomTom users can search for E85 stations through a national database.
The data comes directly from the United States Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC), which has information on where to find all different types of transportation fuel across the country. The station location data will be updated quarterly to keep up with the expansion of E-85 pumps throughout the country.
While the program is currently only available for Garmin and TomTom GPS units, work is underway to bring this data to other navigation systems.
Consumers and fleets may also find alternative fueling locations by using mobile devices such as cell phones, iPhone's, Blackberrys, or other personal handheld devices to access AFDC's Alternative Fuel Station Locator mobile site at http://www.afdc.energy.gov/stations/m. This site will find the 5 closest alternative fueling stations to your location, will provide a map and directions to fueling stations, and will allow GIS-enabled Blackberrys to automatically find stations near you.
Scott Minos is a 22 year employee of the Department of Energy and works for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). He works on special education and outreach projects and manages both EERE's Information Center and EERE's Online Publication and Product Library.