KNOXVILLE – In an effort to conserve resources and to improve air quality, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is celebrating a conservation milestone. As of this week, fueling stations at TDOT’s Region One Complex Office now offer E85 fuel for state vehicles. E85 is a blend of ethanol and gasoline that burns cleaner than regular gasoline thus reducing a number of airborne pollutants.
TDOT has been using biodiesel in heavy duty state vehicles since 2005 as part of a continued initiative to reduce petroleum use. TDOT is striving to reduce petroleum use by 20 percent this year.
“A major strategy for meeting TDOT’s petroleum reduction goals is increased availability and use of biofuels,” said Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “This is an important step in achieving a 20 percent reduction in fuel use and I’ve encouraged all TDOT employees who operate flex fuel and diesel vehicles to use the cleaner burning biofuels whenever they travel.”
E85 must be used only in flexible fuel vehicles capable of using higher ethanol blends. In Region One there are approximately 225 TDOT vehicles that will transition to E85 fuel.
“This is an exciting time for our region, as we continue to explore new ways to decrease our dependency on oil and reduce our carbon footprint,” Region One Director Steve Borden said as he pumped E85 fuel into a state vehicle. “We are using significantly less petroleum every time we fill up our gas tanks.”
Ethanol is a high octane, domestic and renewable fuel made by the fermentation of plant sugars. In the United States, ethanol is typically produced from corn and other grain products. Ethanol is blended with gasoline when used as vehicle fuel, usually in blends up to 10% (E10) or as E85, which contains up to 85% ethanol. Ethanol burns cleaner and reduces the emission of carbon dioxide and a variety of pollutants that contribute to ozone pollution.
Three Pilot locations and Coffman Oil SmartServ in Halls now offer E85 fuel for the public in Knox County. For a full list of vendors offering E85 and B20 renewable fuels visit www.tn.gov/tdot/biofuel/docs/BiofuelStations.pdf.
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