Kansas Corn Supports KDHE Proposal to Allow E15 Fuel in Kansas City

The Kansas Corn Growers Association submitted comments in favor of a Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) proposed removal of the regulation that currently bans the sale of E15, fuel with 15 percent ethanol, in the summer months in the Kansas City metropolitan area. KDHE and its counterpart in Missouri both conducted air quality modeling studies and both recommended changes to allow E15 fuel for use in Kansas City.

Kansas Corn, along with Renew Kansas and Kansas and National Sorghum Producers Association helped to fund the modeling and Kansas Corn Vice President of Market Development and Public Policy coordinated with the air quality experts on the project while KDHE staff maintained control over all technical aspects.

“We have been working for more than two years to get the outdated regulations changed to allow E15 fuel into the Kansas City Market,” Roe said. “This makes sense for air quality and will offer KC drivers the higher quality, lower priced fuel choice that drivers in the rest of the state are already enjoying.”

In its comments, KCGA stated: “Modeling results for Kansas mirrored that of Missouri in that no ozone exceedances are expected to occur in the Kansas City Metro Area due to this revocation. As a bonus, this revocation clears the path for lower cost fuels in the Kansas City region, which could save consumers millions of dollars a year.”

E15 fuel is approved by EPA for use in almost every gas-powered vehicle on the road today. In fact, 97 percent of all miles driven are done with vehicles compatible with and warranted for E15. In 2019, EPA announced it would allow year-round sales of E15 fuel, which is approved for all gas-powered vehicle 2001 and newer. Sales of E15 grew by over 100 percent in 2019 in Kansas with the new rule, and nationwide, E15 sales grew by more than 50 percent. E15 is cleaner burning and is typically five cents per gallon less expensive than regular unleaded gasoline which contains 10% ethanol. However, some areas like Kansas City are under State Implementation Plans (SIPs) that prohibited the sale of E15. KDHE’s revocation of the SIPs will allow for E15 in Kansas City, giving those consumers and businesses additional fuel options already available to most consumers in the United States.

The high octane and low carbon attributes of ethanol make it a clear choice to save consumers money and offer environmental benefits while still utilizing Kansas-produced oil and gas products.

“E15 has a lower RVP than E10 and, therefore, results in lower evaporative emissions, resulting in lower ozone levels, the pollutant of greatest concern in the Kansas City Metro area. Blending more ethanol displaces and dilutes the most harmful hydrocarbon components in gasoline such as aromatics. According to a recent USDA study, ethanol results in 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than gasoline. Increasing ethanol blending from 10 percent to 15 percent further reduces GHG emissions,” KCGA stated in its comments.

KCGA, which represents its members in legislative and regulatory issues, continues to work toward expansion of ethanol demand and the development of a high octane low carbon standard for liquid fuels. The Kansas Corn Commission, the state’s corn checkoff, has aggressive programs that provide funding to fuel retailers to offset the costs of adding higher ethanol blends to their stations, and that educate consumers on the use of ethanol blended fuels. In the past five years, 27 percent of the corn produced in Kansas has been utilized for in-state ethanol production, almost equal to the amount of corn that goes directly to the Kansas livestock industry.