A state law requiring almost all gasoline sold in Missouri to be mixed with 10 percent ethanol kicks in tomorrow. But our gas stations have a surprise for us—most of them have been selling us ethanol-blended gasoline for several months.

The law says E-10, as it’s called, is to be distributed from terminals to local gas stations whenever the price of E-10 is the same as or less than the price of unblended gasoline. E-10’s price has been lower than gasoline for some time…and most gas stations as a matter of economics have been selling it to us for some time. But market circumstances change day to day and that means some stations will get E-10 one day and regular gasoline the next—meaning the mixture in the underground tank is less than the required ten percent.Ron Leone, who heads the association that represents about 75 percent of Missouri’s gas stations, says he’s cautiously optimistic that state enforcers will recognize the law creates a contradictory situation that puts service stations in an uncomfortable middle…and puts Missouri’s law in some confrontation with the Environmental Protection Agency. Leone hopes state regulators will be reasonable as they figure out how the mandate really works at the street level.

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