North Dakota Becomes Ninth State to Offer E15

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota became the ninth state to offer E15 when six Petro Serve USA locations recently began offering the alternative fuel. E15 -- a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline -- is now available at convenience stores and gas stations in Bismarck, Mandan, West Fargo and Fargo, N.D.

"We are committed to offering our customers choice at the pump," said Kent Satrang, CEO of Petro Serve USA. "Ethanol blends are the perfect partnership between North Dakota’s corn fields and oil fields. E15 provides a very cost-effective option for our consumers."

More than 40 gas stations sell E15 nationwide, according to Growth Energy, an ethanol industry advocate group. The alternative fuel currently sells for an average of 10 to 20 cents per gallon less than regular gasoline. E15 is only approved for sale for vehicles manufactured in the model year 2001 or newer.

"E15 underwent more testing than any automotive fuel previously introduced into commerce, so it is certainly a safe option for 2001 and newer vehicles," said Jeff Zueger, general manager of Blue Flint Ethanol and chairman of the North Dakota Ethanol Council. "Ethanol burns cleaner and cooler in engines, which helps the performance level of the vehicle. It also can extend the life of the engine."

Several groups, however, have raised concerns about E15, including the American Petroleum Institute and AAA, which have pointed to possible engine problems the alternative fuel can cause, as well as the fact that a study conducted by the latter showed that more than 90 percent of the general public is unaware of the alternative fuel.

Tom Lilja, executive director of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association, believes concerns about E15 are unfounded. "NASCAR has driven more than four million miles on Sunoco Green E15. This speaks volumes to the performance level of the proven fuel," he said. "North Dakota is lucky to be one of the few states offering E15. Ethanol blends are good for the economy, environment and energy independence."

The Environmental Protection Agency approved the sale of E15 in 2011, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this decision in June.

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