Regular Unleaded 87 Octane Fuel Phased Out in IA and NE
For years you've had the option to pay a little extra to buy unleaded gasoline at the pump.
But now Iowa and Nebraska are phasing out 87 octane fuel without ethanol which means if you don't want ethanol the pickings are slim.
Whether you're for or against Ethanol, it's pretty obvious where the fuel industry is heading.
"It's likely now that every gallon of gasoline that's distributed in the US will have a 10% ethanol. So we kind of like that because we think that it will force the fuel market to use our product," said Chuck Hofland, from Siouxland Ethanol.
That's because your regular 87 octane unleaded gas without ethanol is being phased out in Nebraska and Iowa.
The replacement is 84 octane. Add 10% ethanol and it pushes the octane back up to 87.
The Good news: Cheaper gas. Bad News: Fewer options.
Once Iowa and Nebraska officially make the switch, if you want gas without ethanol you're going to have to spend a little bit more money to get premium.
Hofland says it's obviously good for Ethanol producers but he'd rather leave the choice up to the consumer.
"The perception may be that the ethanol industry is forcing the consumers to use ethanol. It's not because we're trying to make that happen. We think it's a good product for a lot of other reasons, it's economical. I think consumers don't like it when they are being forced, that's the product you have to use," he said.
And the consumer isn't the only one left with fewer choices - gas stations are too.
Unless the gas station has the equipment to blend ethanol and unleaded gas on its own, gas stations may be forced to purchase the ethanol mixture because you can't sell 84 octane fuel on its own.
"If you buy lemonade mix and you buy water, and you can buy either one of them, you can choose. But if you buy a pre packaged lemonade you don't know what the cost of the water is or the cost of the lemonade is you just know the final," he said.
He says he worries distributors could mark up the price of ethanol more than it should be which doesn't leave much transparency for gas station owners.
Most gas stations should be switched over by October.