Ethanol’s rise over the past decade has given birth to an under-the-radar market: Americans who are willing to travel miles out of their way and pay significantly more per gallon for ethanol-free fuel.
Like locally sourced food or antibiotic-free chickens and eggs, so-called E0, or “pure gas,” has generated a cultlike following willing to pay a premium. More than 12,000 service stations across the U.S. and Canada now offer E0, according to pure-gas.org and other groups that track fuel trends.
While federal mandates make finding pure gas somewhat difficult — the vast majority of stations in the U.S. sell primarily E10, gasoline blended with about 10 percent ethanol — specialists say there is a dedicated market for the product. Some customers may hold fast to the notion that ethanol damages engines over time, or they may want to protest government policies that have forced increased amounts of ethanol into the gasoline supply.
Whatever the reason, the service station owners that sell pure gas, often at a per-gallon price 40 cents higher than E10, have found increasing demand.
“Consumers don’t buy things because retailers sell them. Retailers sell them because consumers want to buy them. If you see an outlet that’s selling pure gasoline, nonblended gasoline, it means there’s a significant demand in the market,” said R. Timothy Columbus, a Washington lawyer who represents the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America and the National Association of Convenience Stores.
“People may have 1,000 reasons they want to buy it,” he said. “Retailers have only one reason they sell it, and that is consumers want it.”
Ethanol proponents attribute the desire for E0 fuel to the public relations war waged by the oil and gas industry, whose share of the fuel market could be chipped away further by growth of the ethanol industry.
The complete story here > Increasing number of Americans are willing to drive farther, pay more for ethanol-free fuel