Missouri has an agriculture department that is generally friendly to ethanol, it would take legislative action to move beyond the current E10 ethanol blends and catch its neighbor to the west Kansas.
Last year, Kansas opened the first retail E15 station in the college town of Lawrence, Kansas. Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco 66 convenience stores, not only opened one station, over the course of the year, he added six more locations all offering a 15% ethanol blend for motorists.
Zaremba told a group attending the National Ethanol Conference that his family made it through the 1973 oil embargo and 1991 Gulf War. His family run operation has even endured the oil price increases. However, all along, he knew there had to be another alternative. So, he started offering ethanol and biodiesel to customers.
"It was really the customers who were asking for it," he says. "If they didn't want it, it wouldn't sell."
When he first brought ethanol blends to his pumps it was in the form of E10, a fuel that contains 10% ethanol. Then last year, he offered E15. At that time, the E15 was priced less than E10, which fueled demand.
Zaremba says that E15 is a premium product at 90 octane, all while the same price as unleaded. And customers are responding. He said that the fuel accounts for 20% of his total sales.
While patrons in Kansas are filling up with E15, the fuel has not reached its full capacity in other areas.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska were the first officially to announce E15 was available to consumers. It is also available at a pump in South Dakota.