Maryland to Build New E85 Pumps

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, and administration officials presented a roadmap for a more sustainable transportation fuel system in the state, beginning with the construction of four new E85 fuel pumps.

"As the state purchases new vehicles for its fleet, more and more of our cars, trucks, and vans will run on alternative fuels," said O'Malley. "With these new E85 facilities, we'll continue to make Maryland's transportation fleet less dependant on fossil fuels, strengthening the energy future of our state for generations to come. These upfront investments in our alternative fuel infrastructure position Maryland to take advantage of the rapid advances in the next generation of non-food-based ethanol while reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

E85 is a blend of fuel that contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable fuel made primarily by distilling grains such as corn, wheat, and barley. Emerging forms of ethanol fuel are made from non-food based crops, like switch grass.

"Reducing the state's dependence on foreign sources of oil has never been a more pressing issue, and greater use of E85 and other renewable fuels can help us do that," said Maryland Department of General Services Secretary Alvin C. Collins. "With 1,200 flex-fuel vehicles already in the state's fleet, we are striving to reduce reliance on fossil fuel and its harmful impacts on the environment."

O'Malley outlined three distinct transportation strategies through which Maryland will become more energy independent:

• A mandate for the Department of General Services to use a 5 percent blend of biodiesel in the state vehicle fleet wherever possible.

• Future E85 facilities are tentatively planned for Easton, Hagerstown, La Plata, and Salisbury. Used by the state transportation fleet, the E85 pumps will be installed at Maryland State Police barracks or State Highway Administration facilities. Transition to electric vehicles

• A mandate for agencies to identify specific steps that will ensure this accelerated transition to alternative fueling methods throughout Maryland.

• The launch of an awareness campaign to provide families with money-saving vehicle tips.

The state currently owns 1,200 flex fuel vehicles and is adding about 200 per year. The range of a vehicle operating on E85 is more than 350 miles on an 18-gallon tank of fuel. The incremental cost of the purchase of an E85 vehicle is either very low or non-existent compared to a gasoline counterpart.

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