E85, Eh? (Slideshow)

Arcade is first retailer in Western Canada to get into high-ethanol blend game

Arcade Station E85 (CSP Daily News / Convenience Store / Gas Station)

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) drivers in Western Canada now have the option of fueling up with E85 as the first gas station to offer the high-ethanol blend in the region held a grand opening on Aug. 17.

Arcade Station, which has been selling gasoline and diesel since 1960, added E85 thanks to the enthusiasm of its new owners. "E85 is a revolutionary alternative to fossil-fuel-based gasoline that simultaneously improves a vehicle's performance while producing fewer harmful emissions," said Conal Campbell, Arcade Station's vice president of business development. "We are proud to be the only station providing E85 and excited to bring this innovative fuel alternative to the Greater Vancouver market."

Amir Nazary, vice president of engineering for Arcade Station, said E85 should be popular with the area's local FFV drivers and racing-car enthusiasts--including him--who believe in the fuel's performance and environmental benefits. Before, the nearest gas station offering E85 was in Marysville, Wash., a more than 100-mile drive away.

Arcade Station, located in West Vancouver, B.C., features a retro, 1960s design.

According to a report by North Shore News, the gas station has sold Mohawk, Husky and Union 76 brand fuel over the past 50 years, when it was recently leased by Campbell, Nazary and two other Vancouver-area entrepreneurs, who rebranded the store and added E85.

Along with the retro logo, pumps and station design, Arcade Station aims to offer full service at self-serve prices, said the report.

"We want to distinguish ourselves from the Chevrons and Shells of the world who have great big, flashy signs and pumps that have built-in color-computer displays and such and it's all self-service," co-owner Devin Redlich told the news outlet. "If we're going to embed ourselves in the neighborhood and really make ourselves part of the West Van community, we need to set ourselves apart from that."

The new owners cite E85's higher octane and ability to offer a 20% jump in horsepower, as well as 40% lower carbon emissions as its main appeal; however, because ethanol has a lower energy content than regular gasoline, E85 offers 25% to 30% fewer miles per gallon, which is why it is typically priced at a discount. Federal law in Canada requires that gasoline be sold with at least 5% ethanol content, although some provinces mandate higher amounts. There are only a handful of gas stations selling E85 in the entire country.

W. Scott Thurlow, president of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA), praised the new E85 site: "Canadian consumers need and deserve more choices at the fuel pump. There is no cheaper and cleaner source of octane than ethanol. High-ethanol blends of gasoline, like E85, deliver the increased level of octane required to drive the smaller, high-performance engines consumers want while reducing harmful tailpipe emissions from our air."

Click here to view additional images from Vancouver's Urban Exotics (VUE).