Pure Gasoline Options Shrink: Subgrade Blends Soon Will Spread Eastward in S.D.
by Cody Winchester (Argus Leader) Sometime this summer, already-scarce blends of pure gasoline will become more rare in western South Dakota.
That’s because the largest refineries that supply the Plains Rocky Mountain Pipeline terminal in Rapid City, and therefore much of western South Dakota, soon will begin piping shipments of subgrade gasoline that will have to be blended with ethanol before it can be sold.
…Ethanol groups, for their part, worry that consumers who have engine problems after using the fuel will blame the ethanol rather than the low-grade gasoline with which it’s blended.
…In any case, both the Sinclair Oil Co. refinery in Casper, Wyo., and the Exxon Mobil refinery in Billings, Mont., will begin shipping 82 octane gasoline to the Rapid City terminal this summer.
The subgrade fuel then would be blended with ethanol to boost its octane content to 85. For years, that has been the minimum rating for fuel sold in mountain states and higher-elevation markets in western South Dakota.
But in the wake of an ongoing investigation into mislabeled fuel in South Dakota, the Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Attorney General have determined that it is illegal to sell the 85 blend anywhere in the state.
…Because the big refiners already have committed to shipping 82 octane for larger customers in the mountain states, they say shipping batches of higher-octane fuel to South Dakota — a relatively small market — would require them to mix in premium blends, which would be prohibitively expensive. READ MORE