Minnesota Stations Suspend Gas Sales After Ethanol Problem

Kwik Trip, others affected by Magellan distribution error

MANKATO, Minn. -- Gasoline sales were suspended Tuesday at numerous convenience stores in the region around Mankato, Minn., after officials at the Magellan Midstream Partners LLC distribution facility near Mankato realized that it was shipping fuel with higher-than-intended levels of ethanol, reported the Mankato Free Press. Kwik Trip Inc. stores in Mankato, New Ulm, St. Peter and Owatonna, Minn., were affected, as were some other stores, the report added.

A Magellan spokesperson told the newspaper that it was "greater than 11%."

Regular gasoline in Minnesota typically contains 10 percent ethanol, the report said.

Bruce Heine, spokesperson for Tulsa, Okla.-based Magellan, provided the following statement to CSP Daily News:

"Over the past weekend, Magellan’s Mankato, Minn., petroleum and renewable fuel distribution terminal loaded gasoline containing a high ethanol content (above 10% volume). The trucks loaded with gasoline containing high ethanol content were delivered to local service stations in the Mankato area. Magellan has been working with affected stakeholders and the state of Minnesota Department of Commerce to promptly recover the off-specification product. As a result of this incident, Magellan has temporarily suspended gasoline and ethanol loading operations at our Mankato terminal and is working to restore loading as soon as possible."

The compromised fuel was believed to have been first delivered on Friday and the problem was detected on Monday, prompting Kwik Trip and other impacted stations to suspend the sale of fuel other than E85 and diesel, which were not affected, according to the report.

At least some storage tanks at every store had been pumped clean and new fuel pumped in by noon Tuesday, the report said, allowing sales to resume on some grades.

"We found out about that [Monday] and did the right thing as far as closing off our fuel lines and not delivering product," Steven Wrobel, a spokesperson for Kwik Trip, told the Free Press.

The chain's five Mankato stores and its Owatonna stores were definitely affected, Wrobel said. Kwik Trips in St. Peter, New Ulm, Fairmont and Belle Plaine may also have received some of the improper blend.

Other stations reportedly affected were SuperAmerica in Mankato and North Mankato, the Lor Ray Deli Mart and the hilltop Quick Mart, said the report.

Several chains told the paper that they did not receive any of the inaccurately blended fuel, including Holiday Station Stores, Casey's General Stores and Shell.