The Kansas Department of Agriculture is launching a pilot project that
will allow fueling stations to install pumps that dispense a variety of
ethanol blends and let consumers choose what blend they want. Almost
all gas stations now have E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90
All vehicles on the road today can use E10 and flexible-fuel
vehicles can use blends up to E85. The pumps authorized under the pilot
project will allow flexible-fuel vehicle owners to purchase blends such
as E20, E30, E50 or E85. The U.S. Department of Transportation is in
the process of testing how well regular-fuel vehicles perform on the
mid-blends of ethanol, and could endorse blends higher than E10 for all
vehicles in the near future, The Wichita Eagle reported.
Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Adrian Polansky said pumps featuring a
higher blend of ethanol would carry bright orange labels advising
consumers that the blends are recommended for flexible-fuel vehicles
only. However, there will be nothing to prevent consumers who want to
voluntarily try a higher blend from pumping it.
"We advise vehicle owners that running a higher ethanol blend
might void their warranty because automakers have only endorsed E10
blends," Lisa Taylor, a department spokeswoman, told The Wichita Eagle. "But if there is no warranty issue and a consumer wants to see how an E20 blend performs, that’s an option."
Researchers at the University of North Dakota and the University of
Minnesota released a study earlier this month showing that mid-range
ethanol blends provided better fuel economy than regular unleaded
gasoline, even in non flex-fuel vehicles.
Taylor said the pilot program is designed to allow Kansas
flexible-fuel vehicle owners to try different blends of ethanol and see
which provide the best fuel economy.
There are currently 28 stations in Kansas selling E85.
The incentive for higher blends of ethanol for terminal operators lies
in price: Ethanol is currently less expensive than gasoline and
terminals or stations blending ethanol with their gasoline get a
51-cents-per-gallon subsidy in addition to paying lower wholesale