At the end of the month, Missouri will begin to allow the sale of the controversial E15 fuel. Currently, most available gasoline is sold as a blend with up to 10 percent ethanol. Missouri will become the 13th state to approve the 15-percent ethanol blend to be sold at the pump.
E15 proponents point out that higher-ethanol fuel blends burn more cleanly and reduce harmful emissions, are more renewable, and can help lessen the country's dependence on foreign oil. Corn growers in Missouri also claim that E15 sales and production will help the state economy. Interestingly and not surprisingly, of the 12 states that have already approved the use of E15, many are large producers of corn, with Missouri typically included in the list of Corn Belt states.
While the EPA has approved E15 for all model year 2001 and newer cars, many consumers and automakers have been reluctant to embrace the cleaner-burning blend. Ethanol is known to be corrosive, and concerns that E15 could damage engines - despite the EPA's blessing - has caused a lot of pushback against its proliferation. Missouri's acceptance of E15 is another battle won for ethanol supporters in the drawn out, back-and-forth fight over its use. Despite resistance from parts of the auto and oil industries, some automakers are reportedly quietly readying new vehicles for E15. As usual, expect for the news and drama surrounding ethanol and E15 to continue.
As it stands, for those who want to fill up their tanks with the corn-fed fuel, options are limited. Concerns over liability have caused many retailers to avoid selling the blend, and most E15 states only have a handful of stations that offer it.