For the first time in nearly three decades, American drivers can now choose a new fueling option at the pump. The nation’s first E15 (15 percent ethanol/85 percent gasoline) gallons are being sold at the Zarco 66 “Oasis” station at 1500 E. 23rd Street in Lawrence, KS. Plans to offer E15 at the nation’s second retail station, the Zarco 66 at 2518 E. Logan (intersection of I-35 & HWY 68) in Ottawa, KS, are nearly complete with an announcement coming soon.
On June 8, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave final approval for the sale and use of E15 ethanol blends in light-duty vehicles made since 2001. This represents nearly two-thirds of all vehicles on the road and nearly three-fourths of all miles driven.
Given present market conditions, E15 will sell for less than E10 and gasoline not containing ethanol. More broadly, a recent study from the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development found the use of 13.9 billion gallons of ethanol in 2011 lowered average gasoline prices by $1.09 per gallon nationally and by $1.69 per gallon in Midwestern states such as Kansas.
“Alternatives to gasoline are critically important to our nation’s energy future and Americans deserve to have a choice of cost-competitive fuel at the pump,” said Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco 66 stations. “With the help of the Kansas Corn Commission, East Kansas Agri-Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association, we are pleased to be the first to offer consumers real choice at the pump in the form of E15 ethanol fuel.”
Zaremba, the incoming President of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association of Kansas, blends Zarco 66 fuel options right at each of his stations. Pumps offering E15 with the proper labeling will also be offering E10 and other ethanol blends via technology known as blender pumps. These pumps allow consumers to choose the fuel option that is best for them and their vehicle.
“Ethanol is a vital component of our nation’s energy and economic strategy and moving to higher-level ethanol blends like E15 just makes sense,” said Jere White, Executive Director of the Kansas Corn Commission and the first consumer to purchase E15 under the waiver granted by the EPA. “Since the days of gasohol, ethanol has been an increasingly important part of our nation’s fuel supply. America’s farmers, together with America’s ethanol producers, have risen to the challenge and provide a safe, reliable, and growing source of renewable fuel. E15 and increasingly higher ethanol blends will reduce our dependence on imported oil, create domestic jobs that cannot be sent overseas, and leave a cleaner environment for generations to come.”
“By a margin of three to one, Americans are clamoring for real choices at the pump. The rollout and adoption of E15 is the first step in delivering Americans the choice they want and deserve,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “E15 has been the most vigorously tested fuel to be approved by the EPA. Ethanol has long proven itself to be a safe and effective fuel for consumers, and E15 will be no exception. I want to congratulate Scott for taking the initiative and taking the historic step to be the first to offer E15. When given an option, Americans will choose a domestic renewable fuel that is creating jobs, reducing oil dependence, and lowering prices at the pump here at home.”
In order to offer E15 under the waiver conditions set by EPA, producers and retailers must register with EPA and adhere to the misfueling mitigation plan developed by the RFA and approved by EPA. In addition, the RFA has also developed an E15 Retailer Handbook available at no cost to retailers looking to offer more choices to their customers.
“After three years of hard work and ever-moving goalposts, E15 is finally a commercially-available fuel,” said East Kansas Agri-Energy General Manager Steve Gardner. “Expanding the market for ethanol will mean more jobs in rural America, stronger markets for domestically-produced renewable fuels, and greater opportunity for new ethanol technologies in development today. East Kansas is proud to be working with Zarco 66 and the other partners to be the first to make E15 available.”