Tulsa's QuikTrip Says No To New Ethanol Blend

Tuesday, January 25th 2011, 6:05 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The federal government has raised the limit on how much ethanol can be mixed into gasoline, allowing up to 15 percent ethanol. But it may not be available at the pumps for a while.

In fact, Tulsa's largest gas retailer says they won't sell it.

QuikTrip says they will not sell E15 anytime soon because it's not proven to be safe for all cars. They don't feel they can stand behind it without a lot more testing to make sure it's going to work in your car and in their pumps.

The distinction between what's called "real gas" and anything else drives some customers to stations that offer both.

"I've never questioned it, I've always bought the 91," one driver said.

Most gas stations in Tulsa sell the E10 blend, of up to 10 percent ethanol. But no one is selling E15, with fifteen percent ethanol, so far.

"Most retailers have to make a decision first if they want to sell it. It's not available to us yet," said Ross Ledbetter.

Phillips 66 sells both full strength and blended fuel with added ethanol. Owner Ross Ledbetter said his customers definitely want a choice between the lower price of E10 and the higher performance of full strength fuel.

"Well that depends on who you ask," Ledbetter said. "A lot of consumers believe that the real gas offers them better mileage in their vehicles."

AAA Oklahoma has not taken a position on the logic of adding more ethanol to the fuel, but they want to make sure drivers know what they're buying.

"Well E15 is only good, according to the EPA standard, for vehicles made in 2001 and later, so if you put E15 in your vehicle, you're going to cause some serious damage," Danial Karnes, AAA Oklahoma, said. "So we want people to know what it is they're putting in their vehicle."

After E10 became more commonly available a few years ago, stations added labels to the pumps. AAA wants to make sure that E15 pumps are obvious.

"Really what we're concerned about is our members and consumers knowing what they're putting in their vehicles," Karnes said.

While the federal government has approved E15 for use in cars made since 2001, it still has to be tested for use in the pumps and tanks and that may take a while.

There are cars that can take up to 85 percent ethanol fuel, but it's not widely available.