Ethanol fuel alternative to high gas prices

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By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer
By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer

PHOENIX - The price of gas continues to rapidly increase. In the past two weeks the price at the pump has risen 34 cents.

The Arizona average is up two cents at $3.43 since Friday. The average in Phoenix is up the same amount. In Flagstaff gas is highest at $3.56 and in Tucson a gallon is going for $3.26.

But not everyone in Arizona is paying over $3 a gallon.

There are two colors at many of the gas station pumps already, black for gasoline and green for diesel. If gas prices keep going up there's a good chance more stations will be adding a third color, yellow pumping ethanol fuel.

A yellow pump is for e-85 and right now it's a lot cheaper than gasoline, but finding e85 or ethanol fuel can be tough.

There are about nine gas stations that offer e85 and two days ago a Chevron station near Sky Harbor Airport added the yellow pumps.

“As gas prices move up, ethanol prices don't nearly move up as fast, because it's not oil based, so it gives people another choice out there,” said Shawn Dugan, Chevron manager.

Right now e85 is selling for $2.99 a gallon which is 50 or 60 cents less than regular unleaded gasoline.

“(Ethanol) drops almost all of the carcinogens that are in regular automotive fuel,” said Bill Sheaffer with the Clean Air Coalition.

Sheaffer said ethanol is a very clean burning fuel, but it's one that not everybody can use.

An easy way to tell if a vehicle can or can't use e85 is to look for a flex fuel emblem on the back of the vehicle.

There are some downsides to e85. With e85 you get 18 or 19 miles per gallon compared to 23 or 24 miles with regular gas. Also, not all of the nine stations in the Phoenix-metro offer the fuel to the public.

To find a station that offers ethanol near year visit e85.drivealternatives.com/AZ/Phoenix.

To find cheap gas in your Arizona neighborhood check out azfamily.com's gas prices map.