Don’t be surprised if sometime in the near future Casey’s General Stores in Columbus start offering gas containing higher blends of American ethanol.
This week, the Nebraska Corn Board announced a partnership with the popular convenience store/pizza provider that is currently resulting in 12 Casey’s locations statewide offering Unleaded88, a 15-percent ethanol blend. This was made possible because of the corn board’s blender pump incentive infrastructure program, which provides grant assistance to help Casey’s stores upgrade existing fuel pumps, according to provided information from Corn Board officials.
Nine of the first 12 upgraded locations are in Omaha. Other upgraded locations are in La Vista, Papillion and about 46 miles north in Norfolk.
“Some of the places we have given infrastructure grants to range from Omaha to Scribner, Nebraska; to Coleridge, Nebraska; to Hartington – really all over the state,” said Kurtis Harms, director of communications for the Nebraska Corn Board. “We look for the areas that have those stations that are used quite a bit by the local population … A place in Columbus would probably be an ideal location for us.”
Columbus’ four Casey’s locations currently offer gas in unleaded and super-unleaded options. The unleaded gas contains no ethanol and the super-unleaded, 10 percent. Myra Lotsteich, manager of Casey’s on 23rd Street, said that she isn’t aware of her station making any immediate changes.”
“This is really the first I’ve heard of it,” she said when contacted by The Telegram. “… That would be a decision corporate would have to make.”
John Greer of the Nebraska Corn Board, through a provided statement, said that consumers having the opportunity to benefit from ethanol-enriched gasoline is a huge positive.
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“In an environmentally-conscious world, filling up with ethanol is an easy way for us all to do our part for the planet and our overall health,” Greer said. “Ethanol is a clean-burning, renewable fuel that is less toxic than traditional gasoline, which is good for our air. By investing in our ethanol infrastructure, we’re not only working toward a greener world, but we’re also saving consumers money while boosting Nebraska’s economy. Ethanol is a win for everyone.”
This isn’t the Ankeny, Iowa-based fuel retailer’s first venture into offering higher ethanol blends, released information says. This summer, Casey’s added Unleaded88 infrastructure to more than 60 of its locations. In Nebraska, the retailer also began offering E85 at its stores in Ogallala and Cozad.
“We’re offering Unleaded88 at more stores because our guests want it. The benefits of a lower price and higher octane are hard to argue with,” said Jake Comer, fuel pricing manager at Casey’s, through a provided statement.
Harms added that the program is a boost to Nebraska producers, is cheaper for consumers and for most, is fine to use in their vehicles.
“Unleaded88, also known as E-15, is approved for all vehicles on the road that are model year 2001 and newer,” he said. “And that makes up well over 95 percent of vehicles that are on the road today.”
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.