E85 flexible fuel gas station opens in Imperial Valley 

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Heber residents Steven Gascon (left) and his father, Alfredo Gascon, fill up six 5-gallon containers with E85 fuel Friday morning to take advantage of the six hour promotional price of $0.85 per gallon offered that began at 10:00 a.m. The fuel’s regular price returned to $2.35 following the promotion. E85 is a motor fuel blend of up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
JOSELITO N. VILLERO PHOTO 
Friday, June 2, 2017 

 

EL CENTRO — The first E85 flexible fuel gas station in Imperial Valley opened for business Thursday at the El Centro Market on Fourth Street. Motorists queued in long lines to refuel their cars at the promotional price of $0.85 per gallon – beginning at 10:00 a.m. By 4:00 p.m., six hours later, the price reverted back to $2.35.

Heber resident Steven Gascon refueled his 2013 Subaru, a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV), at one of the four E85 gas pumps. But he didn’t drive-off after pumping about 13 gallons. Instead, he and his father, Alfredo Gascon, brought out their six 5-gallon gas cans and filled them as well.

The younger Gascon said the accumulated points he earned from a fuel rewards card further reduced his price down to 82 cents, instead of the promotional 85 cents.
“Flex fuel is biofuel. It’s good for the environment,” he said.

Julie Scannell, marketing lead for fuel distributor Pearson Fuels, greeted customers and responded to any inquiries about E85.

“We are promoting the grand opening of El Centro’s first E85 retail station,” Scannell said. “E85 is an alternative fuel, also known as flexible fuel. It is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent regular gas, and operates Flex Fuel Vehicles.”

 According to Scannell, there are several ways to identify if a vehicle can use E85 fuel. The cars may have a badge denoting FlexFuel or E85 located on the rear of the vehicle; an identifying decal under the hood; or a yellow gas cap. However, one can consult a car’s manual or visit the website of the E85 flex fuel distributor at www.pearsonfuels.com, she said.

Flex fuel is domestically processed and is available, so far, at more than 70 gas stations in California. Scannell said flex fuel, which is basically ethanol processed from corn, is good for the environment because it burns cleaner and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

 A brochure provided by Pearson Fuels mentioned, “When using E85, some drivers may experience a 15%-20% drop in fuel economy, but economic, environmental, and energy security benefits of E85 outweigh any variation.” Furthermore, E85 has a 100+ octane rating as compared to regular gasoline, according to the brochure.

Within a five-mile radius from the E85 gasoline station, there are approximately 3,000 flexible fuel vehicles, including fleet vehicles, according to Scannell. And for the next six hours, she expected over 50 FFV cars to take advantage of the promotional price.

John Caballero, store manager of El Centro Market on Eighth Street, said customers were welcomed at the grand opening with complimentary hot dogs, beverages, and candies.