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Ethanol blend E15 arrives, saves motorists 15 to 25 cents per gallon

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Motorists who keep an eye on their budget as well as their gas gauge will have a chance to save up to 25 cents per gallon by pumping the ethanol fuel blend known as E15.

KSTP reports the cheaper new gasoline blend is available for the first time in Minnesota. Any vehicle made after 2001 can use the blend, which sells for about 25 cents less than mid-grade premium gasoline rated at 89-octane and 15 cents less than regular unleaded.

E-30 is the cheapest ethanol blend, but it is only compatible with flex-fuel vehicles.

The Star Tribune reports E15 is "an unusual marriage" between corn growers and independent gas stations. Minnesota corn farmers are helping to clear a barrier by subsidizing the expensive upgrades to gas pumps so they can dispense E15.

Penn Mobil in South Minneapolis is the first--and only--Minnesota station to offer E15 but other stations plan to sell the new blend, according to ethanol industry officials. The paper reports that stations in Shakopee, Coon Rapids and Maplewood are making the switch, and a station in Willmar is considering it.

A station conversion can cost $100,000 and up. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association chipped in $2 million and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture another $1 million for technology grants to gas station owners who agree to sell E15.

Gasoline prices are currently some of the lowest of the year.

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