LINCOLN, Neb.—This week, a bill that would mandate gasoline retailers sell E15 passed the first of three hurdles in the Nebraska legislature, The Omaha World-Herald reports. Bill 562 would require retailers to offer gasoline mixed with up to 15% ethanol at the pump.
The Cornhusker State is the second-biggest producer of ethanol in the country, with its plants producing more than 2 billion gallons of the fuel each year. However, Myron Dorn, a Nebraska state senator, said the state ranks close to the bottom for ethanol usage in the U.S. Dorn, who sponsored the bill, said making gas stations offer E15 would help the farmers who grow the corn. “We should be showing that we can support our farmers,” Dorn said.
Many Nebraska gasoline stations have E10, which blends up to 10% ethanol with gasoline. The measure contains business exemptions for retailers who would have to shell out more than $15,000 to comply, along with those who don’t sell a lot of fuel annually.
Proponents of the bill, which has two more rounds to clear before final approval, said more ethanol production in the state would lower the cost of gas and bring in more jobs. State Sen. Megan Hunt opposed the bill, saying that requiring the sale of E15 would likely jack up the cost of the fuel. She also pointed out how much water and other energy is required to produce ethanol.