WASHINGTON—Earlier this year, the Trump Administration lifted restrictions to allow gas stations to sell E15 year-round. However, while 30 states have gas stations selling the higher ethanol fuel blend all the time, fewer than 2,000 locations total have E15 pumps, Bloomberg reports.
The problem is that three of the most populous states—California, New York and Texas—have very few stations with E15 due to state regulations forbidding its sale. To add the fuel, stations must retrofit pumps, which can cost up to $250,000—an investment owners aren’t eager to make given that drivers aren’t clamoring for the higher ethanol blend. “The market is going to drive this. If there is demand for a product, our guys are going to be the ones to sell it,” said Paige Anderson, NACS government relations director.
Earlier this month, the White House released a plan to boost U.S. ethanol demand by getting more funds for infrastructure initiatives to connect consumers with higher biofuel blends. As part of that agreement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would streamline label requirements at the pump.
New York is considering allowing stations to sell E15, but it also sells ethanol-free gasoline in about a thousand stations. Small motor customers, such as boats, lawn-care equipment and ATVs, prefer pure gasoline. In Texas, more pumps with E0 have been added over the past two years. “Texas is going a little bit retro,” said Tony Castro, fuel director at Circle K in San Antonio. Racetrac, Murphy USA, QuikTrip and Buc-ee’s all have added E0 pumps to their islands recently.