Jan. 21, 2015, Houston — Sheetz Convenience Stores, a Pennsylvania-based retailer, said it will introduce E15 fuels in its North Carolina stores this week.
The fuel, a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline known as E15, was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in vehicles built after 2001.
Sheetz plans to install E15 fuel pumps in 60 of its North Carolina locals starting in early 2015 and anticipates finishing by Q2 2016.
Ethanol blends of 10% are ubiquitous across the US, but the biofuels industry has been pushing for more retailers to offer the E15 blend to grow demand for ethanol. A lack of infrastructure to distribute the higher-ethanol blends has stymied this growth and threatened to unravel federal biofuel mandates.
Cheaper ethanol prices, proponents argue, mean E15 would cut prices for drivers and cut emissions in cities. But steep initial costs have discouraged many retailers. Purchasing and installing equipment certified to dispense the fuel and potential liabilities associated with confused drivers using E15 in cars not authorized for the fuel, as well as pressure from conventional fuel suppliers, have kept most US retailers on the sidelines.
Officials in the city of Chicago last month approved a tentative plan to require E15 be sold in local gas stations.