The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could soon issue a final ruling that aims to force oil companies to replace E10, gasoline mixed with 10 percent ethanol, with E15.
This move could come just as widespread support for ethanol, which is made from corn, appears to be eroding.
Mike Mitchell was once a true believer in ethanol as a homegrown solution to foreign oil imports. He owns gas stations, and he went further than most, installing expensive blender pumps that let customers choose E15, E20 and all the way up to E85.
Ethanol plants in at least 13 states have stopped running in recent months because of high corn prices and a lower demand for the fuel. The industry is trying to change the equation by putting more of the biofuel in gasoline, but ethanol critics are pushing back.