The ethanol industry is in the midst of great upheaval. Rising corn prices and slowed consumer demand — Americans are driving less, and when they do drive, they get behind the wheel of more fuel efficient cars — has led ethanol plants to be running well below their full production capacity.
"We are putting a lot of faith in E15," Walter Wendland, CEO of two ethanol plants in northern Iowa, told the Wall Street Journal. "We have a market problem out there for our production."
But that faith isn't shared. The gas and auto industry have been building stations and cars to comply with the federal mandate that capped ethanol percentages at 10 percent before it was raised two years ago. As a result, gasoline companies and auto manufacturers have expressed skepticism over whether e15 is compatible with the cars that are on the road right now.
And so like slot jockeys in states across the union, Kansas drivers will be the ones to step up, pull the lever and see what happens.
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