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Fueling a need for cleaner-burning gas

Rosie’s Market & Deli offers customers a variety of gasoline options with higher ethanol blends, including E15, E30 and E85, in addition to more traditional types of fuel. It is one of only 32 gas stations in Minnesota to carry E15.

Rosemount drivers looking to support a local business, as well as local farmers and the environment, need not look any farther than Rosemount’s Rosie’s Market & Deli.

Located at the corner of Lower 147th Street and South Robert Trail, the convenience store has been offering gas with a 15 percent ethanol content or higher since it opened in July of 2015.

Rosie’s is one of only 32 stations in Minnesota to offer E15 gasoline in addition unleaded, super unleaded, premium and diesel. Rosie’s also offers E30 and E85 gasoline, with an even higher ethanol content, as well as non-oxy gasoline, which contains no ethanol at all and is primarily used for boats and motorcycles.

Rosie’s manager and owner Dean Gisselman said his goal when he opened last summer was to provide customers with as many options as possible.

“The reason we did it was because we wanted to have every option a person could want for their gas purchases,” he said. “So far it has worked out pretty good.”

Gisselman said it has been a gradual process educating customers about the various products he has available, but he is selling more nontraditional gasoline now than when he opened the station eight months ago.

“You can’t expect to open doors and everyone shows up,” he said. “You have to develop a name and wait for people to find out you’re there.”

Gisselman said only flex fuel vehicles are able to use E85 gas, but any car on the road that is a 2001 model or newer is capable of running on E15, which contains only slightly more ethanol than the E10 blend most cars use. He said he has seen an increase in business from drivers who are seeking it out.

“We have a lot of companies that want us to pump it because it’s better for the environment. We are trying to get more people to use it and buy flex fuel cars. It’s one more way to protect our environment,” Gisselman said.

Kurt Zellers, a local spokesman for Growth Energy, said there are many benefits to using gas blends with a higher ethanol content. For starters, it is cleaner and more energy-efficient from both a production and an emissions standpoint. And the ethanol replaces carcinogenic additives.

“It’s locally grown and locally made, so farmers in Minnesota are growing the corn that is used,” Zellers said, adding that just one truckload of American ethanol displaces more than 60 barrels of imported oil.

Zellers said the reason E-15 is not more widely available despite its benefits is that gas stations must purchase special pumps to blend the ethanol with traditional gasoline. Gasoline with an ethanol content of 15 percent or above has a more sophisticated blending process that requires more expensive pumps.

And though E15 is less expensive at the pump, it gets lower gas mileage than E10. Gisselman said that although that may be the case, the customers he has talked to say the money they save at the pump counters any gas mileage they lose. He said many government vehicles use higher blends of ethanol, and nearby Dakota County Technical College has a number of vehicles that run on it as well.

The next nearest station to carry E15 gasoline is in South Saint Paul.