Houston Community News >> Houston Offers E-85

6/6/2006 Houston -- You’ve may have noticed that ethanol is in the gasoline you buy now, only about 10-15 percent though. Now gas with 85 percent ethanol is being sold in Houston. The problem is that that 85 percent ethanol, right now, is not for everyone. Maybe it was the ear of corn on the side of the pump or the sign overhead the one that said $2.59 a gallon, 35 cents less than regular unleaded gas.

Whatever it was, they found it. It’s called E85, a fuel mixture that’s 85 percent ethanol made from corn. When asked if people were nervous about buying it, “A lot of people are,” said flexible fuel vehicle owner James Eoff, “A lot of people are still buying it.” Kroger began selling e85 for the first time at 6 a.m. Monday.

Eoff has what’s called a flexible fuel engine, meaning it can burn e85 or gasoline if there are no e85 pumps nearby. “For the longest time, the closest pumps were in San Antonio. I wasn’t going to drive to San Antonio,” he said. “Flexible fuel vehicles are here to stay,” said Alan Helfman V.P., River Oaks Chrysler Jeep. Helfman, a Chrysler dealer, said drivers need to make sure their cars can burn it e85  by checking the VIN number. There is a pamphlet that has all the letter codes for every auto maker.

For one Ford Explorer, for example, it said the 8th letter had to be a “k”, so you count to the 8th letter and it’s an “e” not a “k”.  That means this is not a flexible fuel vehicle. Kroger plans to have e85 available at 12 locations eventually. The pamphlets are available at the pump.

(Contributed by KHOU)