Maryland Opens First State-Owned E85 Station
Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich dedicated Maryland’s first state-owned E85 station at the Baltimore State Office Center. The station will primarily serve flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) operated by state agencies.
The state fleet currently includes about 550 FFVs, and 120 more will be acquired each year. Federal and local government fleets and nonprofit agencies can also apply to use the station.
Besides energy security and environmental benefits, Maryland sees ethanol as a boost to its agricultural sector. “One reason we’re promoting biofuels is that they create additional markets for our corn and soybean farmers,” says Maryland Clean Cities coordinator Lauren Robbins, who works for the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). MEA, the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, and a Clean Cities grant funded the new E85 station.
Three additional state-owned E85 stations–one in College Station and two in Annapolis–are scheduled to open in 2006. These stations will put E85 within reach of the vast majority of state FFVs.
To promote widespread E85 use, MEA initiated an ethanol awareness program in 2005, which includes direct mailing E85 coupons to people living near public E85 stations, running E85 radio promotions, and listing Maryland E85 station locations on General Motors’ “Live Green, Go Yellow” FFV advertisements. An upcoming state program will provide cost-shared grants to retail fueling stations for adding E85 or biodiesel infrastructure.
Maryland is making progress toward biofuel production as well. A biodiesel plant opened in Berlin in 2006, and plans are being made to construct additional biodiesel and ethanol plants in the state.