Wal-Mart Considering Selling Ethanol-Based Fuel

MAY 31, 2006 - Posted at 4:59 p.m. CST

BENTONVILLE, AR - A spokesman for Wal-Mart says the retailer is considering selling ethanol-based fuel at the gas stations it controls.

The world's largest retailer brought together a group of industry, government and academic experts on alternative fuels in Washington last week.

They discussed how Wal-Mart could develop a network for supplying E-85 fuel to gas stations at its stores and Sam's Clubs.  But spokesman Kevin Gardner said the firm hasn't made a decision yet.

Ethanol is a fuel made out of corn, and E-85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

More than 5 million vehicles on the road can run on the blend and car manufacturers say they are making more models that can use it.  Yet the fuel is sold by just over 600 retailers across the nation, mainly independents rather than chains.

Rock Tolman, chief executive of the National Corn Growers Association says that if Wal-Mart starts carrying ethanol, it would be a very big step toward moving the nation toward biofuels.

Wal-Mart owns and operates gas stations at 383 of its properties.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)