Retailers hoping to sell gas blended with a higher percentage of corn-based ethanol are trying to change a federal regulation that only applies in the summer months. Right now, oil companies aren’t required to distribute gas to retailers that can be blended with 15-percent ethanol to create E-15.
Retailers like Jim Becthold at the Linn Co-op Oil Company say it keeps gas stations from using more Iowa-grown corn in the ethanol fuel blend. “After September 15th, I can sell all the E-15 I want, it’s a quirk in the law. All they’d have to do is either give us a blendstock or treat E-15 the same way they treat E-10,” Becthold says.
The E-10 blend is 10 percent ethanol. Becthold says gas with a higher ethanol content is less expensive at the pump, but they can’t blend it. “We can’t get the blendstocks to us in an economical fashion in order to sell E-15. So, they’ve blocked us from selling E-15 from June first until September 15th,” Becthold explains.
Oil companies who supply the gas for blending say accommodating E-15 in the summer would require massive changes to infrastructure. Supporters of renewable fuel call these claims overblown.