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Ethanol Free Gasoline Will Probably Disappear

June 28, 2009

There is a chilling comment in the E15 waiver process that is now before the EPA that indicates that it is likely that ethanol free gasoline will essentially disappear as we know it.  Maybe there will be small amounts available in drums just as leaded and special racing fuel is now but it will be prohibitively expensive.

This is what the Director of the Division of Air Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation stated in his comment:      (Comments in italics are my comments)

“E10 is not simply ethanol added to finished gasoline.  Since most gasoline at retail contains ethanol, the industry factors the addition of ethanol into the formulation of the petroleum-based portion of the final blend.  The chemical properties of ethanol and its dilution impact allow refiners to produce a petroleum-based blendstock which when combined with a specified amount of ethanol (or other oxygenate) results in a final blend with the desired legal and market properties.  The petroleum-based blendstock, in most cases, would not qualify as gasoline or be legal to sell as gasoline.  For RFG (Reformulated Gasoline, the really clean stuff required in certain areas) this blendstock is RBOB.  For conventional gasoline it is CBOB, (this is what is coming down the Olympic pipeline to Washington and Oregon) and for California RFG it is CaRBOB.”

What this means is that not only will 91+ AKI premium unleaded disappear as we knew that it would, but 89 AKI CBOB used for making 91+ AKI premium E10 cannot be used for aircraft with the EAA STCs, low compression Petersen STCs, nor the 85 HP Rotax engines because it is not “legal” gasoline.  Essentially nobody will be able to order any ethanol free gasoline product.  Neither will the marine industry be able to find any legal ethanol free gasoline.

Please realize that the ethanol blendstock is cheaper to make for the refineries and results in more gasoline product because the AKI is lower, so they have a huge incentive to make this stuff.  We also know from the testimony of WSPA in the Washington state public hearings, for a marine protection bill, that CBOB is the only gasoline product that is going to be available at the terminals in short order in Washington.  It is already the only product delivered to Oregon since we are a mandatory E10 state.  We know that the only ethanol free product coming into Oregon is by barge from somewhere else, other than the Washington refineries.

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