Driving with Bio-ethanol

Archive for the ‘Petrol Stations’ Category

Finding a bio-ethanol petrol station

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Until now, I have either been to my regular petrol station to fill up with bio-ethanol, or I have had a list of places that it is available at on my PDA.

But this week I discovered that there is a E85 POI (point of interest) overlay for TomTom navigation kits.

I downloaded and installed it using the TomTom HOME software, and sure enough: I can now ask it to find me a petrol station selling bio-ethanol anywhere in Germany.  I hope that the file is kept up-to-date as more places start selling it, and when I next travel further away I’ll be sure to try it out!

Mixing fuels for the first time

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

This week it happened for the first time since I starting using bio-ethanol: the petrol station where I normally fill up had a sign saying “Tankstelle defekt” on it – ie. “Out of order”.

Rather than start working out if I would make it on the litres that I had left to the next available bio-ethanol retailer, I decided to do something that I had managed to avoid until now:

I mixed Super (95 Octane) with Bio-ethanol (E85)!

Actually, that probably isn’t such a big deal.  But it was a strange experience after almost 2 years to drive to a normal petrol station and put normal petrol into the car.

Not only was I slightly apprehensive as to how the motor would react to the next mix, but I was also slightly shocked at the price.  I’m used to the litres counting up faster than the Euros, only this time things were the other way round.

But everything worked out fine, and as expected the fuel efficiency (litres per 100km) even improved slightly.  All the same, I hope it doesn’t happen too often.

More places to fill up

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

When I first started looking into bio-ethanol, there were just 91 petrol stations in Germany where you could buy it.

Today, probably for the first time since, I downloaded a new version of the list from e85.biz, and discovered that the number has gone up to 251!

There is even an alternative to my usual supplier in the neighbouring town, so I will be able to go there if I need to.  Until now I have not needed to fill up anywhere else.  Perhaps I should try it out, if only for the experience.

Filling up at short notice

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Today I had an appointment about 100km today, and it was only last night that I realised that I didn’t have enough bio-ethanol in the tank for the return journey.

For the first time, I had to make a detour to fill up with bio-ethanol, meaning that I had to leave earlier to allow enough time to drive to Bad Homburg before I hit the motorway.

Of course, I could have driving down the road to the nearest petrol station and filled up with normal 95-octane fuel, but with that sort of fuel costing around 50% more than bio-ethanol, I felt it was worth making the detour.

But the whole situation did make me conscious of the restrictions of the bio-ethanol fuel.  After all, I don’t get as many kilometres out of a tank as I used to with normal petrol.  I quick check of the list of petrol stations that stock E85 also showed me that there was nothing suitable in the area that I was travelling to.  Well, at least not without going out of my way and looking for it.

So in the end I took the quickest option and visited my usual petrol station, and wished it hadn’t been necessary.  Will the main petrol stations, especially those on motorway service stations, ever start stocking bio-ethanol?

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