Acting on the Obama administration’s inexorable push for alternative fuel, a gas station in Lawrence, Kansas, has become the first in the nation to offer E15 fuel, a blend containing 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. In addition to the Zarco 66 station in Lawrence, a second retail station in Ottawa, Kansas, is also preparing to offer the more-concentrated hybrid fuel sometime in the near future.
On June 8, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave a final ruling on the sale of E15, approving the fuel for all cars with a model year of 2001 or later. Under current market conditions, the blend with higher ethanol concentration will cost less per gallon than the traditional blend of 10 percent ethanol, or E10, as well as other options that are strictly petroleum-based. However, some experts say the savings are illusory, because a gallon of ethanol assumes only two-thirds as much energy as a gallon of petroleum, resulting in a significantly inferior fuel economy.
“By a margin of three to one, Americans are clamoring for real choices at the pump. The roll out and adoption of E15 is the first step in delivering Americans the choice they want and deserve,” asserted Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “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.”
Scott Zaremba, owner of the Zarco 66 station, blends the fuel options on site, a process that requires tens of thousands of dollars in station upgrades. But Zaremba claims the enhancements are well worth the cost. “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,” he contended. “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.”
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