Nebraska may see its first E15 gas soon

Source: World-Herald News Service • Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012

Nebraska could soon have its first station offering gasoline with a 15 percent ethanol blend.

Retailers in the state could offer E15 as soon as next month, said Kim Clark, director of biofuel development for the Nebraska Corn Board.

Tuesday, a second gasoline station in Kansas began selling E15. The Ottawa station and one in Lawrence are the only two retail location in the nation selling E15.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given a green light to sell E15 for light-duty vehicles made since 2001, but there are some stumbling blocks that could keep retailers from making the switch.

The biggest barrier is that EPA rules allow E15 in Nebraska to be sold only between Sept. 15 and May 1. Unlike E10, the EPA did not waive the one-pound federal requirement that the blended product have a Reid Vapor Pressure of 9 pounds or less per square inch for E15, which limits its sale during the summer months. Federal regulations dictate the volatility of gasoline, or characteristics that influence evaporation.

“Essentially,” Clark said, “E15 cannot be offered during the summer months in Nebraska without the waiver. Basically, in Nebraska, we can offer E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles starting Sept. 15, when the winter-blended fuel comes out. Then we can offer it until the summer-blended fuel comes out (May 1).”

After Sept. 15, she said, “We should see some retailers offer E15.”