[to top of second column]
Exxon Mobil Corp. allows E85 sales at branded stations as long as long certain conditions are met, such as making sure the E85 is clearly marked as a non-Exxon Mobil product, said company spokeswoman Prem Nair. She said the company wants to make sure motorists don't accidentally fill up with a fuel their vehicle cannot handle.
"This is a product that we cannot testify to because we don't manufacture or supply them," said Nair, who was aware of about 20 branded Exxon Mobil sites either selling E85 or planning to.
Complicating matters is that Underwriters Laboratories since last October has been undergoing a lengthy review to see if E85 dispensers are worthy of the UL seal. The widely respected safety and standards lab -- the little, round "UL" mark appears on everything from smoke detectors to cribs -- was concerned that ethanol could corrode fuel dispensers. Stations can still put the pumps in with local approval. But a lack of certification -- and the attending potential of liability issues -- has had a chilling effect.
"The UL decertification has hindered us significantly," Kautz said.
Some larger box-store retailers were close to adding a significant number of E85 fueling stations before October, she said, but "once they heard of the UL decertification, they stopped."
In New York, the UL move sidetracked a plan to offer E85 at 10 rest stops in the New York State Thruway by the end of this year. One unit in New Baltimore, N.Y. sits unused, and construction in nine other places has been halted as the Thruway Authority awaits certification.
The months-long certification process has been frustrating for ethanol backers. In March, 14 farm-state senators urged UL to certify the dispensers.
John Drengenberg, manager of consumer affairs at UL, said E85 certification is a priority. But he stressed that it's not like approving a new toaster since they have to create a new set of safety standards.
"This is just the way that safety standards are developed," Drengenberg said. "We don't cut corners."
The lab expects to finish its certification standards by the end of this year.
On the Net:
< Recent articles
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor