Gasoline Retailers Converting More Pumps for Higher Ethanol Blends

Source: By Dave Franzman, KCRG-TV9 • Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2016

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9)- Gasoline retailers in Iowa plan to add a large number of renewable fuel pumps this year to sell gasoline with a higher percentage of ethanol.

The Iowa Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Board recently awarded a record number of grants to retailers to add blender pumps or other devices to sell more bio-diesel and E-15 and E-85 blends of gasoline. That board handed out 68 grants to projects with a value of $3.2-million dollars.

The state funding to help companies install equipment for higher percentages of ethanol expires on June 30, 2016.

The Iowa-based Kum & Go chain will add the most new pumps to sell higher ethanol-blended fuels this year.

Jim Pirolli, a Kum & Go vice president, said the chain currently has 430 stores in 11 states. By the end of this year, approximately 100 of those convenience stores will sell the higher blends of renewable fuels.

Pirolli said 50 or 60 of those new stores retailing E-15, E-85 and bio-diesel will be in Iowa.

Currently Kum & Go sells more E-85, intended for flex-fuel vehicles only, than any other retailer nationwide. However, Pirolli said some of the more recent growth has come with the E-15 fuels that feature 15 percent ethanol and cost just a bit less than the standard E-10 unleaded fuel most drivers purchase.

E-15 blends are intended for any vehicle built in 2001 or later. Retailers have to stop selling E-15 in mid-May for the summer months due to federal air pollution rules.