Democrats Raise Questions about 85 Octane Gasoline After Attorney General Opinion

South Dakota Democrats called on Governor Daugaard to protect consumers from damaging gasoline blends after Attorney General Marty Jackley declared the sale of engine-damaging 85 octane gasoline illegal.

Ben Nesselhuf, Chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, blasted Governor Daugaard for flouting the law after meeting with gas industry leaders:

“Governor Daugaard met with gas industry leaders who were blatantly disobeying the law. Instead of holding them accountable, Governor Daugaard expanded their access to illegally sell engine-busting gasoline. Now Daugaard has to choose: follow the law and protect consumers or defend his gas industry buddies.”

Daugaard issued emergency rules to permit the sale of 85 octane gasoline across South Dakota after some gasoline distributers were found to be selling mislabeled 85 octane gasoline as higher octane blends east of Wall, SD, where it had traditionally never been sold.

Democratic Senate Leader Jason Frerichs (D-Wilmot) emphasized the integrity of the law and the need for fairness to consumers:

“State laws on this issue exist to protect consumers from damaging, low grade fuels. State government owes it to consumers to enforce the law when it is violated at the expense everyday South Dakotans.”

Representative Steve Street (D-Revillo) wondered how the administration arrived at this position in the first place:

“Why is there suddenly an attempt to permit the statewide sale of engine-busting gasoline that state law has long declared illegal? When people pull up to the pump, they should get what they are paying for. State government must put South Dakota consumers first.”

Dale Hargens (D-Huron), District 22 state house candidate and long time legislator, worries that consumers might blame ethanol, which refiners sometimes mix with 85 octane gasoline, for the poor engine performance caused by the low grade fuel.

“The apparently illegal decision to expand the sale of 85 octane gasoline has the potential to damage an industry that is supporting thousands of farmers and giving consumers high quality fuel options. South Dakota can’t risk losing that market because the state no longer wants to follow the law.”

For more information, please contact Ben Nesselhuf at 605-271-5405 or

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