Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Why It Could Get a Lot Harder to Find Ethanol-Free ‘Pure Gasoline’ in Oklahoma

A gas station in Oklahoma City promotes ethanol-free gasoline.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A gas station in Oklahoma City promotes ethanol-free gasoline.

Oklahoma’s supply of ethanol-free gasoline is endangered, which could make the fuel harder to find — or simply more expensive.

The changes could come as soon as September, and OnCue Express CEO Jim Griffith tells The Oklahoman’s Jay F. Marks the price spread between pure gasoline and the 10 percent ethanol blend could “grow to 25 cents a gallon or more.”

What’s behind the limited supply? It’s the federal government’s fault, the industry says:

Federal requirements are forcing refiners to produce growing amounts of fuel blended with ethanol, endangering the supply of pure gasoline in the central part of the United States, including Oklahoma.

The federal Renewable Fuels Standard requires oil and gas companies to blend gasoline with biofuels like ethanol. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in mid-August finalized the standard’s biofuel levels.

The American Petroleum ran ads criticizing the biofuel mandates in the federal Renewable Energy Standard

American Petroleum Institute

The American Petroleum ran ads criticizing the biofuel mandates in the federal Renewable Energy Standard

Advocates say the federal standard reduces the nation’s use of foreign oil and promotes sources of alternative energy, but the oil and gas industry and opponents like Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe says the mandate is flawed.

Many drivers say ethanol blends are bad for small gas-powered tools, like lawnmowers, as well as vehicle engines. This worry has been reinforced by the American Petroleum Institute, a major oil and gas lobby, which has issued ads that say the higher ethanol mandates could void engine warranties.

In July 2013, the API’s President and CEO Jack N. Gerard criticized the standard in testimony to a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce:

… in an “only in Washington” turn of events, the RFS also mandates the use of a fuel that simply doesn’t exist. Currently, the amount of commercially available advanced cellulosic biofuels in the market doesn’t come close to meeting the arbitrary requirements of the RFS. In other words, RFS mandates the use of a phantom fuel that could cost American consumers millions.


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Comments

  • Nancy H

    Let the consumer decide.

  • Consumer

    Let the federal government pay for the damage to lawn mowers, vehicles, etc caused by ethanol…

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