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Increased supply expected
Mike Green, a spokesman for the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, said he expects gas prices in Minnesota to start dropping in early June as refiners bring plants back online.
“We are expecting increased gasoline supplies from the Gulf Coast to make it into the region,” Green added. “Given the fact that gas prices are so high there is a big financial incentive right now for wholesalers to move as much gasoline into the region as possible.”
One side effect of the gas-price jolt is that E85, the blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline that can be used only in flex-fuel vehicles, is now price competitive for the first time in more than a year, said Dan McCullough, founder of E85prices.com, based in St. Cloud.
E85 is selling for about 20 percent less than regular gasoline in Minnesota, he said. That’s important because E85 packs about 15 percent less energy than gasoline, so it has to be that much cheaper to make it worthwhile. Only about 4 percent of U.S. vehicles can use the fuel.
“That’s the beauty of owning a flex-fuel vehicle,” said McCullough. “When oil ticks you off, you buy ethanol. When ethanol ticks you off, you buy oil.”
David Shaffer • 612-673-7090