Year-round E15 highlighted in MN Biofuels’ mid-year report

By Matt Thompson | July 25, 2019

The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association’s (MN Biofuels) 2019 First-Half Report was released to its members July 17, and the report highlights the organization’s push to grow the use of E15 in Minnesota, and the impacts the 1-pound RVP waiver for the fuel has had on the state.

In a release, Tim Rudnicki, executive director of MN Biofuels said, “This year, as of May 31, E15 sales in Minnesota have hit 29.26 million gallons and with E15 now available throughout the summer, we have launched several promotional campaigns aimed at further increasing E15 consumption this year. Moreover, with E15 now available year-round, there will be new opportunities to increase the number of fuel retailers who offer E15 in Minnesota.” According to the report E15 is currently offered at 352 retail locations in Minnesota. Rudnicki added that Minnesota needs 660 stations offering the blend to make it drivers’ go-to fuel.

“With the RVP ban lifted, E15 can finally take off,” Rudnicki said. “But for that to happen, we have to continue to educate and engage with consumers on the benefits of using E15 and get more retailers onboard.”

And more retailers have started to jump onboard, Rudnicki said. “Since the ban was lifted, interest in E15 among independent retailers, especially those with multiple stations, have certainly increased. It was previously very difficult to convince some stations to take on a product they could only sell for 8.5 months a year,” he said.

In addition to focusing on E15 growth, the report highlights other initiatives undertaken during the first six months of the year. In terms of policy and advocacy, MN Biofuels worked with members of the state legislature and the governor’s office to expand the biofuel infrastructure partnership program. “While we made great strides in creating awareness about the need to increase the availability of E15 in Minnesota, funding for the initiative was constrained by lawmakers’ budget targets,” the report says. “Nonetheless, we will continue to work with agency heads and the governor to identify discretionary funds for this initiative.”

Rudnicki said MN Biofuels has data and evidence “that indicates a second BIP program could be one of the most cost-effective methods to boost E15 on the supply side. At the same time, organizations like MN Biofuels will continue to educate and promote E15 to consumers to boost demand. That's good for the farmer, economy, consumer and the environment,” Rudnicki said.

Looking ahead, the report says MN Biofuels plans to research proposals for a low carbon fuel standard. “Some environmental and biofuel stakeholders have already attempted to draft a model standard; however, a preliminary assessment indicates a host of questions about its effectiveness and implications for the ethanol industry in Minnesota have yet to be addressed,” the report says.

“There are a number of questions we have about proposed models and whether they actually recognize the evolving reality such as the growing number of hybrid vehicles and the role of mid-level blends of ethanol in helping to boost engine performance and cut greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector,” Rudnicki added.