E85 use back on the rise in Minnesota

Back in February, I asked: Are Minnesotans voting no on E85?

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I wrote, “While use of the fuel (85 percent corn-based ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) is rising in government fleets, overall E85 sales fell more than 25 percent from 2008 to 2009 following years of big increases.”

Recent data from the state Commerce Department, however, show E85 consumption climbing back toward pre-recession levels. (Click on the chart for a larger view)

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In the worst parts of the recession, fuel use, including E85, dropped significantly, and the cost gap narrowed between gasoline and the typically lower priced E85. Those were the chief reasons consumption dropped.

The price gap widened again earlier this year as average regular gasoline prices ran above $2.70 a gallon most of the spring in Minnesota, while E85 averaged $2.20 to $2.26, which explains why the use of E85 is on the upswing again.

I eat my words!