There are laws against humans drinking and driving, but for cars it’s another story. According to CBS Baltimore, one Baltimore gas station is selling a new alcohol-laced fuel. Instead of getting your car drunk, however, the fuel provides an alternative to gasoline that will be a little easier on the air.
According to the report, A-1 Auto Repair at 3041 Frederick Ave. in West Baltimore is the first gas station in the city to sell the new fuel E85. The fuel’s composition is 85 percent ethanol, which is an alcohol distilled from corn through a process that’s similar to making moonshine. The other 15 percent of the product is made up of that old sober, oil-based gasoline.
Ethanol has long been touted as a way to use America’s vast corn stocks as a way to produce energy, and gas stations have used it as an additive for years. Still, oil-based gasoline (drilled and produced by the same companies that own many of the gas stations) have continued to make up the vast majority of the fuel that’s pumped into cars.
Along with containing less of that increasingly scarce oil, E85 is a cleaner fuel than oil-based gas. Being a corn-fed American product, it can also lead to more power and performance. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that E85 is currently available at 2,400 stations across the country.
Before heading out to A-1, read this fine print: E85 can only be used in cars specially designed to run on it, called Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV), which haven’t quite caught on. But, according to the Department of Energy, “you may be driving an FFV and not even know it.” They have a handy website that tells you how to find your FFV status.