Iowa’s ethanol industry says it can help augment the nation’s fuel supplies, alleviating possible supply problems resulting from flooding of Texas and Gulf Coast oil refineries.
Gasoline prices in Iowa are up about 17 cents over the past week. Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw says ethanol pump prices are holding steady.
“We have ethanol production,” he says. “It is still flowing. Our rail lines are still moving it to market. And I think that’s why you’re seeing the huge gap between E-85 prices and the gasoline prices. If you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, this is a very good time to go out and find E-85. You’ll be saving yourself some serious money.”
E-85 is a fuel made up of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. It can only be used in “flexible fuel” vehicles. The price of the fuel in Iowa is currently as low as $1.69 a gallon.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has also waived regulations to allow the sale of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol, known as E-15, to help stretch the nation’s gasoline supplies. Most 2001 model year or newer gasoline passenger vehicles can use E-15 fuel, though federal regulations usually bar it from being used in non-flexible fuel vehicles between June 1 and September 15.