The Magellan and NuStar Pipelines that service the upper Midwest including Nebraska have announced the discontinuation of the 87 Octane Unleaded Gasoline effective September 16, 2013. It will be replaced with an 84 Octane Unleaded Gasoline that will require blending with 10% ethanol to allow it to meet the 87 octane minimum needed by gasoline engines. Common carrier refined fuels pipelines in the eastern, southeastern and western parts of the United States have already made this transition.Why is there a move to the Sub Octane Unleaded Gasoline? The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the US to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels (i.e. ethanol and biodiesel). The RFS originated with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The RFS program requires renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel in increasing amounts each year, escalating to 36 billion gallons by 2022.
The volume of ethanol sold in the United States is now approximately 10% of the total gasoline sales. The Renewable Fuels Standard effectively requires refiners to increase the volumes of renewable fuels. Refining a gasoline that needs blending with ethanol to be a legal road fuel facilitates the move of ethanol blended gasoline usage towards the mandated obligation.
The downside for some consumers is that an 87 Octane Gasoline that contains no ethanol may not be available. Concern by users of older equipment (for wheelers, lawnmowers and two cycle engines) is that an E-10 product will cause damage to their engines.
The best answer to those concerns rests in states that have ethanol mandates. Minnesota (over 10 years) and Missouri (over 5 years) are ethanol mandated states and all of these types of engines are used in those states. Their transition to ethanol blended gasolines went smoothly.
All retailers in the state purchase product through these pipelines and will offer the new ethanol blended products.
Should you decide to switch your gas storage tanks from unleaded gasoline to gasoline with ethanol, you will need to make sure the tanks are cleaned out.
Contact your UFC Energy department at 402.362.8434 if you have any questions.