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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. -- The SmartStation at 1290 Business Highway 151 here recently began offering E15 from eight pumps, making it the first location in Wisconsin to do so.
The gas station, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Badger State Ethanol, joins only a handful of locations offering the alternative fuel, which is a blend of 15-percent ethanol and 85-percent gasoline.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) cheered the move by its member, Badger State Ethanol, as well as the Wisconsin Ethanol Coalition, a trade group that also assisted in the implementation process.
"[Wisconsin drivers] now have a choice at the pump," said Bob Dinneen, RFA's president and CEO. "They have the opportunity to choose a new renewable fuel mix that provides cost savings as well as engine and environmental benefits. A Wisconsin driver can now choose a fuel that supports jobs in their state and helps strengthen this country economically. The additional use of ethanol will in fact increase our energy security and further reduce our dependence upon foreign oil. Three cheers for Badger State and the Wisconsin Ethanol Coalition for their hard work."
Following the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approval of E15 as an alternative fuel for model year 2001 and newer cars last June, few gas stations have sold the product due to a tremendous amount of surrounding controversy. In fact, on Feb. 18, U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and David Vitter (R-La.) introduced legislation intended to overturn the EPA waiver that allows E15 to be sold at the pump.
The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology's Subcommittee on Environment subsequently hosted a hearing on Feb. 26 to determine if the EPA waiver should be suspended. Robert Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA, testified during the hearing that it is possible E15 could cause engine damage to vehicles and that automobile manufacturers will not honor warranties if the alternative fuel is used.
The House Committee has yet to take any action following the hearing.
Kansas-based convenience store and gas station chain Zarco 66 became the first to offer E15 in the United States last year.