Casey’s General Stores has announced it will begin offering the higher ethanol blends of E15 and E85 at 17 sites in Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas.

The Iowa Corn Promotion Board applauds the move. Board president Larry Klever of Audubon says it’s something they’ve been discussing with Casey’s for quite some time.

“It’s one of the most common things I’ve heard over the years is people asking me why Casey’s doesn’t…so it’s kind of a relief that they’re finally doing this pilot project and I hope it’s very successful for them,” Klever says.

A Casey’s spokesman says the company does not have plans “at this time” to expand beyond the initial 17 locations. But, Klever is hopeful.

“There are a lot of Casey’s stores around in small towns. It would be great if they could get those blender pumps into everybody,” Klever says. Casey’s, based in Ankeny, is the fourth largest convenience store chain in the U.S. with nearly 2,000 locations across 15 states.

In addition to the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, corn checkoff boards in Illinois and Kansas and the ethanol trade association Growth Energy are assisting Casey’s in the program. In a news release, Growth Energy calls it “a major milestone for renewable fuel availability, especially across rural America where demand for higher ethanol blends is at an all-time high.”

(Reporting by Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News)