S.D. to use E15 in state vehicles

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014

South Dakota will use gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol in its state fleet, Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) announced yesterday.The state will incorporate E15, a fuel approved by U.S. EPA for use in cars with model years 2001 or newer, into both flex-fuel vehicles and newer non-flex-fuel models on a six-month trial basis. At the end of the trial, the state will evaluate the fuel’s performance.”South Dakota is a large ethanol producer, and our state has significantly benefitted from the ethanol industry,” Daugaard said in a statement. “The goal is to use more of our homegrown fuel by using E15, the newest fuel in the marketplace.”

The move by South Dakota comes amid lingering concerns raised by the oil industry and some auto manufacturers that increased ethanol use will damage car engines and fuel systems. The status quo in gasoline is 10 percent ethanol, although E15 is slowly being introduced into the market. The fuel is now sold in about 70 gas stations, mostly in the Midwest and Great Plains regions.

In South Dakota, state fleet fueling sites currently provide E10. The new fuel will be sold at four fueling locations throughout the state, including in Pierre, the state capital.

More than half the fleet, or 1,950 vehicles, are flex-fuel vehicles that can handle up to 75 percent ethanol.

Ron Lamberty, senior vice president of South Dakota-based American Coalition for Ethanol, said the state’s announcement will support both farmers and the state’s $3.8 billion ethanol industry.

“We are confident state employees will find E15 a safe, reliable and affordable fuel choice,” Lamberty said in a statement.