2014: The Year of E15

Big Oil knows its arguments are falling flat, and is now trying to change the topic, misleading consumers by making false claims such as ethanol causes engine failure in extreme cold weather and implying that 'misfueling' is a major consumer risk.
By Tom Buis | February 14, 2014

2014 marks the fifth anniversary of Growth Energy’s filing with the U.S. EPA to allow the sale of ethanol fuel blends up to 15 percent (E15). Though the year is still young, we are seeing E15 popping up everywhere. More and more consumers are finding the fuel at their local pumps and are excited to see the savings while knowing they are getting an American-grown fuel. 

Retailers from across the country are aggressively expanding the availability of E15 and higher blends. It is now found outside the Corn Belt—great proof that consumers are choosing what is best for their vehicles and their wallets. Minnoco recently began offering E15 in the Corn Belt and Murphy USA is planning to sell E15 in Arkansas with plans to expand the fuel option throughout the year. 

But most impressive, Mapco announced in January that it will be selling E15 at all nondiesel fueling dispensers at its new build and select megastore locations starting this year, with the goal of having 100 megastores offering E15. These megastores are the flagship store operations for Mapco and represent a significant volume opportunity for E15. 

Currently, E15 is available in 12 states across the country and the number is set to grow rapidly. The reason for the sudden boom in E15 is simple. Consumers want the higher octane and better performing fuel that offers savings and choice at the pump. 

Consumers also love knowing that they are contributing to the energy independence of our country and are supporting our farmers and rural communities. Ultimately, this is definitive proof that consumers and retailers want a choice when it comes to the fuel they are buying or selling.

 

Big Oil can no longer claim consumers do not want E15 or that retailers do not wish to sell these higher ethanol blends. This is proof that the so-called blendwall is nothing more than a self-erected barrier that Big Oil has used to prevent the widespread use and adoption of biofuels in the commercial marketplace to protect its market share and lock on the liquid fuels transportation market.

Big Oil knows its arguments are falling flat, and is now trying to change the topic, misleading consumers by making false claims such as ethanol causes engine failure in extreme cold weather and implying that “misfueling” is a major risk to the consumer. As a sign of desperation, Big Oil is questioning the intelligence of its own customers by suggesting the American public is incapable of following simple instructions to avoid the possibility of vehicle misfueling.

Does Big Oil really have such little confidence in consumers’ ability to choose for themselves, or is it simply trying to protect market share and excessive profits at the expense of our citizens?  I believe the American public is able to understand the real facts and citizens are capable of developing their own opinions.  

In another sign of weakness, Big Oil paid for and trotted out a nonscientific, nonreviewed study to scare its customers about the safety of E15, the most tested fuel blend in history, only to be rebuked by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the weakness of the testing methodology and conclusions.  E15 has been tested and approved for use in automobiles and light trucks 2001 and newer, representing about 80 percent of all motor vehicles on the road today.

This year, Growth Energy will continue educating and working with fuel retailers and consumers to expand the biofuel market because of the economic, environmental and national security advantages these fuels produce. It is an exciting time for the ethanol industry and I could not be more enthused about the new opportunities that lie ahead.

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy
202-545-4000
tbuis@growthenergy.org