Category Archives: Flex Fuel

This 4th of July, Declare your Independence at the Pump

The Clean Air Choice Team, lead by the American Lung Association in North Dakota, encourages drivers to choose American-made fuel this Independence Day weekend.

E85 Flex Fuel is a new option at the pump for most drivers. The goal of the Clean Air Choice Team is to educate consumers about E85 fuel and its compatibility with flexible fuel vehicles.

Robert Moffitt, a spokesperson for the American Lung Association in North Dakota, said, “we calculate that if a single flex fuel vehicle is fueled with E85 instead of gasoline for a year, it prevents 4 tons of emissions from entering our air.”

The Clean Air Choice team has launch a North Dakota campaign encouraging drivers to fill tanks with E85 over the 4th of July weekend. Every trip to the pump is an opportunity to choose cleaner burning, domestically produced fuel.

Celebrate your freedom to choose what type of fuel to put in your car, truck or van. Find out if your vehicle can use Flex Fuel E85.

Find E85, TomTom GPS App released

You’re on your summer road trip cross-country, tank gage edging toward empty, you need to find the nearest E85 pump asap — simple, use the TomTom GPS App to navigate toward the closest E85 location.

The application, released by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), maps out the location of E85 fueling outlets all across the country. Flex Fuel Vehicles drivers can download the app to TomTom or Garmin GPS devises at

Upon announcing the new app, Robert White, RFA Director of Market Development said, “We are continuing to explore new ways to connect the consumer with ethanol-blended fuels. TomTom and Garmin represent 67% of all GPS devices sold in the United States, and with our cooperation with the Department of Energy on station locations, this will continue to yield great results.”

To see a map of E85 stations across the US, visit the US Department of Energy’s interactive map.

Can’t recycle that soiled cardboard? Try fuel.

Of all the tons of corrugated cardboard recycled by the Cedar Rapids paper mill in Iowa, 5 percent of fibers from old containers cannot be recycled, which equates to about 50,000 tons of paper waste ending up in a landfill every year. Fiberight LLC plans to change this.

Fiberight has partnered with International Paper Cedar River to convert waste paper into cellulosic ethanol fuel. The clean tech company converted a first-generation corn ethanol plant in Blairstown, Iowa into a cellulosic ethanol production facility.

According to Todd Olstad, the paper mill’s operations manager, “through Fiberight’s new facility, we can now be assured that whatever recycled fiber can’t be made into new packaging can be used to create green energy, while helping us offset our disposal cost.”

By 2011, Fiberight’s facility will reach a final commercial production capacity of about 6 million gallons of cellulosic fuel per year.

Read more about Fiberight’s cellulosic fuel plant.

Next generation biorefinery breaks ground in Boardman, OR

With production expected to begin next year, Colorado-based ZeaChem has broke ground on a cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Boardman, OR. The plant will use ZeaChem’s core technology, to produce ethyl acetate, a salable chemical intermediate that can turn poplar tree waste into cellulosic ethanol. The biorefinery is expected to produce up to 250,000 gallons per year.

“Breaking ground on ZeaChem’s biorefinery in Boardman is a significant milestone,” said Jim Imbler, president and chief executive officer of ZeaChem. “As a leader in this industry, ZeaChem is committed to producing economical and sustainable advanced biofuels and bio-based chemicals, creating jobs, and being a good neighbor in the community.”

ZeaChem is receiving $25 million in stimulus money for the plant that will create 300 direct and indirect jobs.

Read Press Release.

Buick Regal joins 2011 Flex Fuel Vehicle lineup

Add another flex fuel capable model to the list. All 2011 Buick Regals will be flex fuel ready starting this fall. The retooled 2.0-liter direct injected turbo engine is designed with alternative fuel in mind. The new design will increase fuel efficiency while using Flex Fuel E85.

As technology continues to improve, future engines will maintain the same level of fuel efficiency whether using flex fuel or petroleum gasoline.

Read more from

See a list of all Flex Fuel Vehicle models.

GM invests in E85 compatible, fuel-efficient vehicles and American jobs

GM recently announced that it will invest more than $890 million to renovate five North American plants, creating or retaining more than 1,600 jobs and producing a new generation of fuel efficient, E85 compatible engines.

Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, stated,  “these latest investments show our commitment to improving fuel economy for buyers of every GM car, truck and crossover and giving them the best possible driving and ownership experience.”

The new small block engine family will gain fuel efficiency through direct injection, a redesigned combustion system, and lighter aluminum engine blocks.  GM says, “in addition to being E85 ethanol capable, these engines are being designed with the capability to meet increasingly stringent criteria emissions standards expected throughout this decade.”

Read more on GM’s new investment.

Changing how America fuels, one tank at a time

In January, American drivers displaced 784,000 barrels of foreign oil every day by using American-made ethanol fuel, the most renewable fuel ever used in America’s history. A big thanks to all Propel customers who contributed by choosing to fill their vehicles with renewable, homegrown Flex Fuel E85.

Together, we can change what we put in our tanks, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and support domestically-produced, cleaner burning fuel.

Read more from Domestic Fuel.

Why Wait? New Lamborghini is E85 compatible

No news on the price tag, but Lamborghini aims to make its new generation more efficient, meet a 35 percent CO2 reduction goal and add E85 fuel compatibility.

A post from Car and Driver reports that Lamborghini is working on “stop/start capability to thrift fuel in urban settings, cylinder deactivation—so that both the V-10 and the V-12 can operate on half as many cylinders—E85 compatibility, and possibly even a mild-hybrid solution.”

Lamborghini will also utilize carbon fiber to reduce the weight of the vehicle and offset any weight-gain from incorporating a hybrid system. Lamborghini collaborated with the University of Washington and Boeing to create the Automobili Lamborghini Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL). Look for further developments in this field as carbon fiber costs are predicted to decline by 2012 – 2014.

Read more about Lamborghini from Car and Driver.

Chrysler focuses on fuel efficiency, E85 compatibility

Chrysler’s new flex fuel-ready, V-6 engine  goes into production this week, as part of an overhaul to Chrysler’s powertrain lineup. Not only will engines be fully flex fuel compatible, fuel efficiency will also increase by 25 percent over the next four years.

The new Pentastar V-6 engine will be available in Chrysler, Ram Truck, Jeep and Dodge models. The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be the first model to debut the revamped engine, which boasts  a 38 percent increase in horsepower, 11 percent increase in torque and 11 percent fuel economy improvement. Read more from Motor Authority.

Is your current vehicle compatible with Flex Fuel E85? Find out now.

Propel’s 85 cent E85 event a great success

Last Wednesday’s event brought drivers across Sacramento to Propel stations to fill with E85 Flex Fuel for $0.85/gallon. New and returning customers were happy to brave the morning’s stormy weather to fill their tanks with low-carbon, domestically produced E85.

Drivers across the region joined together to reduce approximately 30,000 lbs of CO2 and save over $10,000 at the pump–in just one day!

Propel team members enjoyed meeting new customers at the pumps on Wednesday, as well as catching up with many loyal Propel users. We appreciate all your comments and suggestions on ways to improve customer experience at the pumps.

See more pictures from the event on our Facebook page.

Propel offers 85 cent E85 on Feb. 24th

On Wednesday, February 24th, Propel will offer E85 Ethanol for $.85/gallon at all Sacramento locations. The goal of the program, in partnership with CALSTART, is to help inform the 25,000 Flex Fuel drivers in Sacramento of the economic savings and environmental benefits of fueling with domestically produced, low carbon fuel. Join us at the pump on Wednesday from 9 am to 6 pm!

Promotion Details

Where: All Propel Sacramento area locations – see map
When: Wednesday, February 24, 9 am – 6 pm
More Info: Email or call 1.800.871.0773

Not sure if you have a Flex Fuel Vehicle?

E85 capable Flex Fuel vehicles can be identified by the manufacturer’s vehicle badge, yellow gas cap, or by checking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) online. Find out if your vehicle is E85 compatible by checking online at

Engine maker increases fuel economy for E85

Engine technology is beginning to catch up with alternative fuels. How an engine is designed can directly improve fuel economy for alternative fuels like E85, and Ricardo is making great strides in this direction with their Ethanol Boosted Direct Injection (EBDI) technology. Ricardo estimates that an E85 fuel economy improvement of up to 30 percent is possible with no loss of power or performance, using their EBDI engine in place of currently available gasoline power train. That makes E85 more efficient then gasoline.

So the testing begins. Two demonstrator vehicles are to be produced incorporating Ricardo’s EBDI engine technology showing that extreme optimization of ethanol combustion can enable engine downsizing of the order of 50 percent and still deliver substantial fuel economy and CO2 emission improvements from a cost-effective, high performance, inherently low emission power train. The project will use Ricardo’s EBDI flex fuel engine, developed from a production V6 gasoline engine, to repower two GMC Sierra 3500 HD pickup trucks, each with a curb weight of 6,000 pounds. Ricardo and partner Growth Energy have announced the project aims to show the market-readiness of Ricardo’s EBDI technology, which optimizes flex-fuel vehicles to burn ethanol with consumer value, horsepower and fuel economy comparable to gasoline. All that and independence from foreign oil. We wish them luck!

Read more.

GM & Ford announce B20 biodiesel compatibility for 2011 models

General Motors and Ford both recently announced support for use of B20 biodiesel in their 2011 diesel models. The 2011 GM line-up of heavy duty diesel pickups equipped with the Duramax 6.6L engine and Ford’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine will both be B20 biodiesel compatible.

The new Duramax 6.6L turbo diesel engine will power the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, as well as the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans. Chevrolet will display the 2011 Silverado heavy-duty trucks at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 10.

Ford plans to identify B20 compatible vehicles with a B20 road & leaf badge–similar to the badge used to identify Ford E85 Flex Fuel compatible vehicles.

Waste into power, POET teams up with the city of Sioux Falls

The joint project by leading ethanol producer, POET, and the city of Sioux Falls uses landfill gas to help power POET’s Chancellor, South Dakota ethanol production facility. Methane gas created by the Sioux Falls Regional Sanitary Landfill is transported down an 11-mile pipeline to POET’s biorefinery, helping to power ethanol production.

Methane, a major factor in global warming, is captured, converted and put to use producing process steam for ethanol production–using methane offsets 15 percent of the facility’s  energy needs, reducing overall CO2 emissions by more than 26,000 tons per year.

Revenue from selling methane to POET and subsequent carbon credits, earns an additional 1 million dollars per year for the city of Sioux Falls.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized the innovative work of the POET-Sioux Falls project in an award ceremony for programs that “employed unique project structures and took creative approaches to utilize (landfill gas) from municipal solid waste landfills.” The project will continue to grow as the supply of landfill gases increase, doubling capacity by 2025.

Read more about POET and Sioux Falls.

At the Pump . . .

Propel community members share their stories.

Elk Grove, CA – Elk Grove Clean Fuel Point – December 2009

We met Jennifer fueling her C230 Mercedes-Benz with Flex Fuel at the Elk Grove Clean Fuel Point. She has been filling with Propel ever since the service department at her vehicle dealership told her that her C230 was flex fuel capable.

Mercedes does not badge flex fuel models, making it difficult to figure out which vehicle are flex fuel capable.

Flex Fuel Capable Mercedes Models:

C230 Sedan 2.5L, model year 2007

C240 Luxury Sedan & Wagon 2.6L, model year 2005

C300 Luxury & Sport 3.0L, model years 2008 – 2009

C320 Sedan, Sport Sedan & Wagon 3.2L, model years 2003 – 2005

See a full list of Flex Fuel Vehicles.

500,000 jobs created by U.S. ethanol industry

The 2010 U.S. Ethanol Industry Salary study estimates nearly a half-million direct and indirect jobs generated by the ethanol industry nationally.

Jobs tied to the ethanol industry are heavily concentrated in rural America, and makeup a significant portion of the economic impact of the industry.  As Mike Bryan states in his editorial for the January issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine, “the importance of the domestic ethanol industry to the vibrancy of the U.S. economy, especially the rural economy, cannot be overstated.”

On a local level, Propel Fuels has teamed up with the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps to provide life and skills training for at-risk youth in the area. Involvement in the program provides corps members training in critical skills such as job responsibility, timeliness and teamwork, while exposing them to the promising industry of renewable energy.

As the domestic economy struggles back to its feet, the burgeoning alternative energy industry provides a bit of hope for new jobs and economic growth.

Read full article about Propel and SRCC.

More on the 2010 U.S. Ethanol Industry Salary survey.

2011 Chevy Cruze hits 40 mpg, adds E85 capability

Replacing Cobalt in 2011, Chevy Cruze will be available with two engine options, an E85-capable 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 140 hp, or a 138 hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder. The Cruze high-efficiency version will hit 40-mpgs highway, aided by variable valve timing, electric, speed-sensitive steering.  The typical automatic transmission Cruze, should hit 37 mpg. The Cruze is an important model to GM, as it competes directly with Civic and Corolla models.

Read more.

UC Davis research shows sustainable biomass energy potential for California

A recent article published in California Agriculture illustrates the potential for sustainable biomass energy crops in California.  California Agriculture is a peer-reviewed journal reporting research, reviews and news from the University of California and its Agriculture and Natural Resources division.

Article Abstract
Biomass constitutes a major renewable energy resource for California, with more than 30 million tons per year of in-state production estimated to be available on a sustainable basis for electricity generation, biofuels production and other industrial processing. Annually, biofuel production from these resources could exceed 2 billion gallons of gasoline equivalent, while providing opportunities for agricultural and rural economic development. Continuing research and large-scale demonstrations now under way will test alternative technologies and provide much-needed information regarding costs and environmental performance. Biomass can help meet state goals for increasing the amounts of electricity and fuels from renewable resources under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), and can similarly help meet national biofuel targets under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Internationally consistent sustainability standards and practices are needed to inform policy and provide direction and guidance to industry.

>> Read More

Article Authors
Bryan M. Jenkins, UC Davis
Robert B. Williams, UC Davis
Nathan Parker, UC Davis
Peter Tittmann, UC Davis
Quinn Hart, UC Davis
Martha C. Gildart, UC Davis
Steve Kaffka, UC Davis
Bruce R. Hartsough, UC Davis
Peter Dempster, UC Davis

Production advances create fuel from forest waste

Fuel sourced from waste derived feedstock is the gold-standard in sustainable energy production. And the pine forest waste left over from Georgia’s paper industry will soon be turned into fuel.

Range Fuels’ cellulosic ethanol production facility aims to utilize the limbs, needles and tops of timber typically left out in the woods as an entirely new source of fuel. A technology that is a perfect fit for the State of Georgia that has an abundance of forest-derived feedstocks.

“This is zero carbon footprint fuel” says David Aldous, Range Fuels’ CEO.

The Soperton, Georgia-based plant held ground breaking ceremonies in 2007 and is scheduled to be producing this fuel in 2010. The project is permitted to produce 100 million gallons of fuel per year.  In addition to vehicle fuel, the plant will generate renewable power from energy recovered during the process of converting biomass into fuel.

Watch Video from WSBTV.

Cellulosic Plant takes a big step towards converting Corn Cobs into Fuel

South Dakota based POET is pioneering commercial-scale next generation ethanol Poet_Libertyproduction with their Project Liberty plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The 25 million-gallon-per-year plant reached a significant benchmark yesterday receiving a 20 million dollar commitment from Lt Governor Patty Judge. Former four-star General Wesley Clark spoke to attendees about the important role they would play in providing more homegrown fuel for the nation.

“We are involved in something that is historic,” Clark said. “We are going to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources, and we will strengthen America’s national security.”

POET currently operates a pilot-scale cellulosic plant in Scotland, S.D. currently producing 20,000 gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol. The newly funded Iowa plant will commercialize the process creating hundreds of new green jobs.

Watch coverage by KTIV News 4

E85-driving Vikings fans get free parking

E85_Parking_MNThe Minnesota Vikings team up with the American Lung Association to offer FREE parking to the first 25 flex fuel vehicles at every home game. The flex fuel drivers get prime parking in the Gold Lot, which normally goes for $40, plus discount coupons for the closest flex fuel E85 station.

The new environmental initiative, “Viking Purple Planet – Helping Sustain Vikings Country,” focuses on working with green companies and organization like the American Lung Association to support sustainable programs.

Read more from Live Green Twin Cities.

Flex fuel-driving Viking fan? Enter the E85 contest.

Study finds E85 increases efficiency offsetting MPG loss

PropelCD5_E85_pumpA study released by the University of Nebraska found that E85 delivers more efficiency over higher petroleum fuel blends, offsetting much of the loss in Miles Per Gallon (MPG) typically attributed to E85. The study illustrates that when calculating fuel MPG performance, both the energy density of the fuel (BTUs), and the energy efficiency must be accounted for.

The report tested light, medium and heavy vehicles showing E85 improved energy conversion by 13, 9 and 14 percent respectively when compared to higher petroleum blends. This increased efficiency translates into an MPG decrease of only 14 to 19 percent depending on vehicle size using E85, showing that energy density and efficiency of fuel both factor into overall MPG performance.

This difference in MPG is compensated by the lower price of E85 blends at the pump that are on average 20-30% less than regular unleaded. In fact, Propel E85 is nearly 60 cents cheaper than regular gasoline, making E85 the ecomomic choice.

Find the station nearest you.

Read the University of Nebraska study.

Green jobs for conservation corps youth


Propel has teamed up with Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps to provide life and skills training for at-risk young men and women at Propel’s retail fueling locations.

“Our partnership with SRCC allows us to not only help young people develop important skills that will assist them the rest of their lives, but creates a skilled workforce for the growing renewable fuels industry.” said Rob Elam, Propel’s President and Co‐Founder. “We look forward to expanding this important program on a larger scale as our network of alternative fueling stations grows.”

Involvement in the program provides corps members training in critical skills such as job responsibility, timeliness and teamwork, while exposing them to the promising industry of renewable energy.

“The opportunities that Propel has provided for the young people in our program are invaluable and offer them a positive environment in which they can channel their energy,” said Andi Liebenbaum, Deputy Director of the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps. “The exposure our corpsmembers are receiving to the renewable fuels industry can only help them in a future job market.”

Read more about the SRCC and Propel partnership.

US Postal Service Earns Top Environmental Award

USPS Fills at Propel's Citrus Heights, CA location

USPS Fills at Propel's Citrus Heights, CA location

The U.S. Postal Services was awarded the Environmental Achievement of the Year by Postal Technology International magazine. In addition to recycling and energy-efficiency efforts, the Postal Service recently announced plans to replace 6,500 vehicles with 1,000 E85 ethanol-capable and 900 gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles.

In the Sacramento region, the USPS is a loyal customer of Propel clean, American Flex Fuel and biodiesel.

Ford adds Flex Fuel and B20 Biodiesel trucks to the 2011 lineup

In a recent press release, Ford calls attention to the alternative fuel capability of vehicles in their 2011 F-series lineup. Not only is Ford adding a new E85 capable engine, but also will offer a diesel engine compatible with a B20 biodiesel blend.

2011 Ford Super Duty Reveal

Ford announces, “the 2011 F-Series Super Duty boasts all-new powertrains, led by the Ford-designed, Ford-engineered and Ford-built 6.7-liter Power Stroke® V-8 turbocharged diesel engine, which delivers significantly improved torque and horsepower as well as class-leading fuel economy while maintaining best-in-class towing and payload capability; new engine also has biodiesel compatibility up to B20.”

“A new 6.2-liter V-8 gasoline engine also is added to the lineup; it also delivers significantly improved torque and horsepower as well as class-leading fuel economy; new gas engine can run on regular-grade gasoline, E85 or any blend in between.”

Find out if your current Ford vehicle can use Flex Fuel E85.

Full Ford press release.

Read article from

1000 Acres of Next Generation Fuel


Cellulosic feedstock projects are beginning to scale in size and frequency. An example of this is the 1,000 acre switchgrass plot in Oklahoma, now in its second year. The project is led by the Ardmore-based Noble Foundation, and strands are reaching 3 ft in height.
Unlike corn, switchgrass doesn’t need to be replanted each year. It also takes less tractor-fuel and fertilizer to produce, can be grown on marginal land and doesn’t require as much water.

Read More

Fulcrum Advances Ethanol from Waste

fulcrum_sierraHigh quality biodiesel refined from waste sources is becoming common, and has the lowest carbon footprint of any liquid fuel. In fact, much of the biodiesel sold by Propel, the highest-quality clean fuel available, comes from recycled fats and oils. And now strides are being made in waste-to-ethanol production through advances by companies like Fulcrum Bioenergy. Fulcrum is working to derive commercial-scale ethanol from municipal waste — and recently ran their first demo proving they are on their way to reaching that goal.

The successful demonstration has spurred the development of commercial scale production. Construction on Fulcrum’s municipal solid waste to ethanol plant, Sierra BioFuels, is set to begin this year. Located in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, in the City of McCarran, Storey County, Nevada, the plant will convert 90,000 tons of MSW into 10.5 million gallons of ethanol per year.
More from NY Times

More on Fulcrum

At the Pump . . .

Propel community members share their stories.

Rocklin, CA – Rocklin Clean Fuel Point – Thursday, September 3rd.


Martha has been filling her Ford Explorer with Flex Fuel for the last three months and loves it–especially the price, nearly 70 cents cheaper than regular gasoline.

Her husband noticed that they could use Flex Fuel E85 from a label posted on the inside of the gas tank door.

She lives in Penn Valley, CA, but works conveniently close to Propel’s Rocklin location–though she’d like to see a station in Grass Valley area sometime soon. She and her husband are big proponents of E85 and spread the word to friends and family.

Can your vehicle run Flex Fuel E85? Find out.

Take our survey, enter to win $300 of FREE FUEL

Propel has teamed up with students from Sacramento State for a summer internship program. Students are conducting short customer surveys at all Propel Sacramento locations– Monday, August 17th through Sunday, August 23rd.


Stop by any Propel Sacramento location, take our survey and register to win $300 of FREE fuel. And chat with our friendly interns, they’re doing a great job!

For a map of Propel California locations, visit our station locator.

At the Pump . . .

Propel community members share their stories.

Sacramento, CA – Folsom Blvd Clean Fuel Point – Monday, August 10


Met Fred filling up his Flex Fuel Chevy Tahoe at Propel’s Folsom Blvd location in Sacramento–it’s conveniently close to home for Fred and he likes to save money at the pump.

Right now, Propel’s Flex Fuel E85 is nearly 70 cents cheaper than regular gasoline!

Fred looks forward to Propel stations in the Bay Area and in Fresno.

You can sign up for new station announcements or request a station in your area on Propel’s website.