Pearson Fuels Scores $1.35 Million to Build E85 Stations in California

With 19-site deal, alternative-fuel marketer will double flex-fuel retail network

SAN DIEGO -- The California Energy Commission (CEC) has granted Pearson Fuels $1.35 million to assist in its expansion of its retail flex-fueling network. The company will use the funds--available through CEC's Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology Program--to bring E85 to 19 traditional retail gas stations across California.

The company said that it expects the project to displace approximately 2,754,218 gallons of gasoline per year as well as reduce greenhouse emissions by approximately 25,082 tons per year.

In the United States, the high blend of ethanol used in E85 continues to be produced primarily from corn; however, major technological improvements have contributed to more advanced production plants and a more advanced fuel made from agricultural waste products and other nonfood sources. The California Imperial Valley has several such plants in the development process, the company said.

"There are hundreds of thousands of flexible-fuel vehicle owners in California who have been burning imported oil in their vehicles for years while a domestically produced, renewable and cleaner burning fuel is available," said Mike Lewis, Pearson Fuels general manager. "The problem continues to be a significant shortage of retail stations where the public can buy the fuel, with less than 45 retail E85 flex-fuel stations in the entire state. The CEC's funding, matched with our own and that of the retail fuel station owners will go a long way towards addressing that shortage."

Lewis said stations will be strategically located in areas where significant numbers of flex-fuel vehicles are currently underserved by flex-fuel stations. Stations are planned for 19 different communities from San Diego to South Lake Tahoe.

San Diego-based Pearson Fuels opened in 2003 as the world's first alternative Fuel Depot. Specializing in bringing alternative fuels to the public, the Fuel Depot brought the first E85 station to the U.S. West Coast, the first biodiesel station to San Diego and the county's first dual-pressure CNG station.