ROCKFORD, Ill. ? The availability of E15 is off to a slow start, and some retailers say it will stay that way, even though ethanol groups are pushing for wider usage, the Wall Street Journal reports. The blend is available at eight stations in Kansas and Iowa, while Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota have said it could be sold there as well.
However, many gasoline stations are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, expressing concerns over the effect E15 would have on older cars. ?"Right now I don't think it opens up that large of a market share,? said R.J. Rymas, director of fuels for the Road Ranger chain. ?I have not seen anybody in any market that I operate in that is planning on doing it.?
With the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only approving E15 for vehicles with a model year of 2001 and later, retailers are worried about consumers accidentally using the wrong fuel. ?All of a sudden now you are putting a product in the ground that may or may not work in some of your consumers' vehicles,? said Bill Walljasper, CFO of Casey?s General Stores. Casey?s will not be offering the fuel anytime soon.
Even some automaker have not embraced E15 for post-2001 models, although Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. have said the fuel could be used for model year 2013 vehicles.
Not all retailers are against the fuel. Scott Zaremba?s Zarco 66 stations in Kansas were the first in the United States to sell E15. ?We have a little bit more control over our destiny? by having another blend not as tied to oil refiners, he said.
In August, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the challenges brought forth by trade associations representing automakers, refiners and other industries on the EPA?s E15 waiver, saying that the groups did not have a legal right to challenge the EPA decision.