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Big Oil Explores Adding More Cheap Ethanol to Gasoline in Iowa

BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are exploring adding more ethanol in gasoline in top corn state Iowa to take advantage of how cheap the biofuel has become.

The oil majors are gauging driver interest at a small number of stations in 15% ethanol blends, up from the current state standard of 10%, after the Trump administration in May allowed an increase nationwide.

Adding more ethanol to gasoline may help Midwest farmers who have been struggling to find markets for corn after biofuels demand plateaued last year. Ethanol futures slumped to the lowest in more than a decade in 2019, making it unprofitable to make the biofuel that accounts for about a third of demand for the U.S. corn crop. But cheap ethanol won’t save drivers much money: At current prices, filling up a Ford-F150 would only cost about a quarter less.

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