The bill approved Wednesday would allow the sale of 85-octane gas in Butte, Custer, Fall River, Harding, Lawrence, Meade, Pennington, Perkins and Shannon counties. The measure next goes to the full House.
Fuel industry executives said they need to continue selling 85-octane fuel because they depend on refineries in Rocky Mountain states that produce the low-octane fuel.
Western South Dakota gas stations would sometimes run out of fuel if they could not sell 85-octane fuel, said Dave Kulish, general manager of M.G. Oil Co., which is based in Rapid City.
Kulish said about 25-35 percent of the fuel his company sells is 85-octane, but the warning label calling it sub-regular has cut sales by about 5 percent.
"It was a hazard label. It was something people were scared of," Kulish said.
He said the bill will allow pumps to label 85-octane fuel as regular unleaded in order to maintain contract requirements with suppliers on what goes on pumps.
Kulish said 85-octane gasoline has been sold in western South Dakota for decades without causing problems with vehicle engines.
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