SPENCER, Iowa -- The 100th E15 fueling site in Iowa opened this week, solidifying the state’s ranking as having the most locations offering the 15% ethanol gasoline blend.
Wessels Oil Co. added E15 to its Crossroads Convenience Store in Spencer, Iowa. While Wessels has offered other ethanol blends—E85, E30 and E20—as well as the 5% biodiesel blend B5, this is its first E15 location.
“With the capability to offer E15 to all 2001 and newer vehicles, it made good business sense to get on board with offering another option to our customers,” said Lisa Wessels, secretary of Wessels Oil. “E15 offers higher octane and is a cleaner fuel with less-toxic chemicals that cause cancer, plus it supports jobs in the state’s ethanol industry. It’s a win-win situation because it also increases demand for Iowa agriculture.”
Wessels installed blender pumps and storage tanks at the Spencer site to offer E15 with the help of grants from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. RFIP provides cost-share grants to Iowa fuel retailers who want to upgrade their fueling infrastructure to offer higher ethanol or biodiesel blends. The grants can cover up to 70% of installation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per project, for a retailer’s five-year commitment to sell E15, E85 or biodiesel.
Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Johnston, Iowa, highlighted the importance of the grants in helping Iowa reach its E15 milestone.
“RFIP has leveraged millions in private investment to make it possible for 100 stores and counting to offer E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles,” Shaw said. “More than 80% of the vehicles on the road today are approved to run on E15 and every year that market share grows. This 100th station is only the beginning for E15.”
Approximately 650 sites in 28 states currently offer E15.
Wessels Oil, Palmer, Iowa, has been in business since 1938 and owns and operates six convenience stores selling Cenex brand fuel in northern Iowa. It also distributes gasoline, diesel, propane, diesel exhaust fluid, oils and lubricants.