Minnesota's agriculture commissioner on Wednesday endorsed E15 at a ceremony in Minneapolis for the state's first gas station to offer the 15 percent ethanol blend.
"This is another great day in the history of Minnesota's biofuels development," said Dave Frederickson, commissioner of the Minnesota Agriculture Department.
E15 went on sale this month at what is now called the Penn Minnoco, a former Mobil station at 60th Street and Penn Avenue S. Minnoco is a new brand created by independent gas station owners including Richard Bohnen, who owns the Penn Avenue station and is president of Minnoco.
Frederickson was joined by Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, in whose district the station is located.
Three other stations — in Coon Rapids, Maplewood and Shakopee — are planning to rebrand as Minnoco stations and begin offering E15 by the end of the year. The stations, which also sell the standard E10 fuel, or 10 percent ethanol blend of fuel, are getting help from a public-private effort to subsidize upgrades to their pumps so they can dispense higher-ethanol blends.
With $1 million in state funds and $2 million from the Minnesota Corn Growers, a trade group for the corn growing industry, ethanol supporters' goal is to help 40 to 50 stations upgrade to dispense higher-ethanol blends. (There are 2,800 gas stations in Minnesota.)
E15 is approved for 2001 or later model cars, SUVs and light trucks, but not for heavy trucks, motorcycles and engines in off-road vehicles and equipment, including marine motors.