What Is E15?

Gas prices are expected to climb close to $2.63 a gallon, 20 cents higher than at this time last year, while a record-high of nearly 980 thousand North Carolina drivers will be travelling by automobile this Memorial Day weekend, despite these rising prices. But there is another factor drivers should watch out for on the road this weekend.

Those traveling this weekend should be on the lookout for gas stations that sell E15 gasoline, a form of fuel that contains 15% ethanol made from corn in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in the US.

“While it has been permitted by the federal government… pushed a little bit because Congress said we wanted reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” says manager of public affairs for AAA Carolinas, Tom Crosby, “it has not yet been approved by 95% of the manufacturers that put cars on the road today.”

Crosby warns about the risks that could result from using E15 in vehicles that are not approved. “It can damage your engine; it can invalidate your catalytic converter. Many manufacturers will void the warranty that you have if you use E15.”

Those driving, especially to locations out-of-state, are advised by Crosby and AAA Carolinas to check service station pumps and consult the owner’s manual for their particular vehicle to confirm they are using the correct fuel.

To better estimate fuel costs, click here to input starting city, destination, and the make and model of their car.


Gasoline Leak Near Homestead And MLK

6:00 p.m. Update (From Town of Chapel Hill):

Clean-up efforts continued late Friday after a gasoline leak at the Family Fare BP on the 1200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and flow to sites downstream along Crow Branch and Booker creeks. No signs of gasoline have been found in Eastwood Lake or areas downstream.Chapel Hill Fire Department crews created multiple dams and laid absorbent booms to capture any possible gasoline in the water, which, if found, will be removed by the clean-up contractor. NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Water Quality and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff were on the scene and conducted soil, water, and air quality tests. Results of those tests require lab analysis and are currently unavailable.Zebra private remediation services were called to assist. Booms were laid at various points along the creek to prevent gasoline from going into Eastwood Lake. Zebra’s vacuum truck was used to remove the remaining gasoline on site to prevent further leakage. The total amount of gasoline that leaked is still unknown and is being calculated. The cause of the leak is related to demolition work occurring at the Family Fare BP.
There may be a reoccurrence of gasoline odor at nightfall and if there is a significant rainfall.

3:00 p.m. update: Mitigation crews are now on-site, attempting to vacuum gasoline and other products from the leak site. Orange County Emergency Services and North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources is now on scene.

While crews have not seen a sign of a leak coming from the gasoline tank, they have still emptied it as a precaution, and dams in the water are now being checked for signs of gasoline or other products.

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill firefighters are responding to a reported gasoline leak that originated from the BP gas station on Martin Luther King Blvd near Homestead Road.

gas spill 8-2-13

Captain David Sasser says no gasoline has been found in the water supply yet, but they are detecting gas odors in several spots. Sasser says the range so far is as far out as Eastwood Lake.

“There’s an odor at Eastwood,” Sasser says. “We have not found any signs of it that far.”

In addition to investigating for gasoline in the water, Sasser says the fire department is assessing the impact the spill has had so far.

“We’re assessing for any safety issues and putting up dams to help stop any product, if there is any,” Sasser says.

Chapel Hill Fire first got reports of a gasoline odor at around 5 a.m. this morning, which was followed by similar reports around 7 a.m.

Sasser says the department is still looking in to the cause of the leak. The Homestead BP station did have construction on its property.

“They were doing construction, but nothing related to the actual gas tanks, so that’s what’s being investigated.” Sasser says

Sasser says the department believes the leak occurred around 2 to 5 a.m. this morning.

Crews are spread out 1.5 miles around the site of the BP station, with three Chapel Hill Fire Department engines with 12 firefighters. In addition, the Chapel Hill  Police Department sent three officers, Orange County Emergency Services sent seven members, South Orange Rescue sent five members and the Orange County Sewer and Water Authority sent two of its members.