Zarco 66 owner Scott Zaremba in Lawrence, Kan., is known as a groundbreaker in his efforts to offer a variety of biofuels to drivers. Tuesday, he became the first retailer in the United States to offer E15 fuel for all vehicles model year 2001 and newer at his Zarco 66 station at 1500 E. 23rd St. in Lawrence. The Kansas Corn Commission, Renewable Fuels Association and East Kansas Agri-Energy are sponsors of the E15 effort at Zarco 66.
The EPA gave its final approval for the sale and use of E15 ethanol blends in light duty vehicles model year 2001 and newer last month. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, two-thirds of all vehicles on the road are 2001 and newer, and those vehicles represent nearly three-fourths of all miles driven.
Zaremba offers a variety of ethanol-blended fuels at his locations in Lawrence, Ottawa and Olathe and has been selling E15 as a fueling option for flexible fuel vehicles at his stations leading up the EPA's approval for vehicles 2001 and newer.
"Scott knows the importance of biofuels and is a great advocate for ethanol," according to Lawrence farmer Pat Ross who is treasurer of the Kansas Corn Commission. "It's fitting that Zarco 66 will be the first station in the nation to sell E15 fuel. Ethanol is a superior fuel, and is made right here in Kansas and throughout the Midwest, creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. I'm excited to have access to E15 in my hometown."
The National Corn Growers Association welcomed the news of the pump opening. President Garry Niemeyer said the fuel creates jobs and lowers prices at the pump.
"Corn ethanol helps diversify America’s fuel supply, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and foster a more vibrant economy. NCGA strongly supports consumer choice at the pump and the opening of the first E15 pump is a step in the right direction," Niemeyer said.
In a joint statement when EPA cleared the final hurdle for E15 in June, the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy said the ethanol industry was grateful for support from the White House and agencies involved in bringing E15 to the marketplace. Growth Energy filed the initial E15 waiver request in 2009 and in the three years since filing that request, the industry has worked extensively with the EPA to meet its conditions for approval, the groups said.
The Kansas Corn Commission has been involved in bringing E15 to the market by funding an E15 Health Effects Study as well as supporting implementation efforts for the fuel.
"Bringing E15 fuel to consumers is the product of three years of efforts by the ethanol industry," Corn Commission Executive Director Jere White said. "We've been working closely with the Renewable Fuels Association to move forward with E15 implementation-making sure we have everything in order on the federal and state levels to sell this new fuel." To help finalize the long process, White fueled his personal car, a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, with the first gallons of E15 sold in the United States under the new EPA waiver.
Kansas is one of the first states to become ready to allow retailers to sell E15 fuel.
"We've been lucky to have a forward thinking Weights and Measures department at the Kansas Department of Agriculture," White said. "When we wanted to introduce blender pumps for flexible fuel vehicles, KDA's guidelines became a template for other states as well. Thanks in part to that groundwork, Kansas drivers will be the first in the nation to buy E15 fuel."
Zaremba blends Zarco 66 fuel options right at each of his stations. He is the Vice President of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association of Kansas. Blender pumps offering E15 with the proper labeling will also be offer E10 and other ethanol blends to allow consumers to choose the fuel option that is best for them and their vehicle. Higher ethanol blends, like E85, E40 and E30 are for use in flex fuel vehicles. And now motorists with cars model year 2001 or newer can use up to 15 percent ethanol, (E15). The nation's second retail station to offer E15 will be the Zarco 66 station at 2518 E. Logan in Ottawa, KS. This station is located at the intersection of I-35 and Highway 68 in Ottawa.
"Alternatives to gasoline are critically important to our nation's energy future and Americans deserve to have a choice of cost-competitive fuel at the pump," said Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco 66 stations.
"With the help of the Kansas Corn Commission, East Kansas Agri-Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association, we are pleased to be the first to offer consumers real choice at the pump in the form of E15 ethanol fuel."
Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen said the pumps are the first step in delivering choice to Americans.
"E15 has been the most vigorously tested fuel to be approved by the EPA. Ethanol has long proven itself to be a safe and effective fuel for consumers, and E15 will be no exception," Dinneen said.
In order to offer E15 under the waiver conditions set by EPA, producers and retailers must register with EPA and adhere to the misfueling mitigation plan developed by the RFA and approved by EPA.
In addition, the RFA has also developed an E15 Retailer Handbook available at no cost to retailers looking to offer more choices to their customers.