The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA has announced its policy change to allow E15 fuel to be sold year-round across the country.
E15 is a gasoline blend containing 15 percent ethanol, and is sometimes marketed as Unleaded 88. David Ripplinger is economics extension specialist with NDSU Extension. He says E15 has slightly higher octane, and slightly less energy than regular gasoline. He says more cars on the road today can use the fuel than is widely known. Ripplinger says up until now, E15 would disappear in the summer months which begins on June 1st.
"What will likely happen with this is an increased understanding of E15, and that regular availability, since it will be there year round - you might see a little bit more marketing and use of the fuel."
Ripplinger says there are pros and cons to weigh when it comes to choosing whether or not to burn E15 in your vehicle.
"It does have less energy than E10 does; ethanol has less energy on a volume basis than gasoline. And so as you increase the blend, there's less energy in the fuel. It's also important to note that just because there's less energy in the fuel, doesn't mean you're getting fewer miles - you probably will in the case of E15, but if you re-optimize the engine you'll probably get more miles since it's a higher octane."
Ripplinger says E15 also has a smaller carbon footprint. He says the new regulations should encourage more people to explore whether or not using E15 is a good choice for them.