Bringing E15 to the Consumer

By Tom Buis | July 11, 2012

Growth Energy remains at the forefront as a leader in protecting and advancing the industry with its continued efforts to bring E15 into the marketplace. In 2009, Growth Energy filed the initial waiver to approve E15 for the general marketplace. We knew if consumers were given a choice at the pump, they would choose the fuel that is the most cost competitive and reliable. E15 is that fuel. For more than three years, Growth Energy has fought the legal and regulatory battles to finally break through the E10 blendwall to make meaningful strides to protect and improve our nation’s energy security and prosperity.

Since the initial filing, there have been a number of challenges and at each and every step Growth Energy has led the industry, working diligently to overcome them. In mid-June, the U.S. EPA gave the final approvals that make the commercial use and sale of E15 possible for vehicles 2001 and newer. This is a remarkable achievement for our industry. There is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be accomplished, however, before you will routinely see E15 at your local gas station.

Growth Energy is leading the efforts in market development, working directly with retailers so they can sell E15. This process is difficult and complex. In anticipation of the next steps, Growth Energy launched a website just for retailers, www.EthanolRetailer.com, to provide a one-stop resource center. By adding E15 to their fuel sales, retailers will have the opportunity to offer a fuel that has increased octane and is less expensive than other low-blend or pure gasoline choices. Plus, as we like to remind folks, with E15, consumers can put a little more America in their tank.

One of the most important elements to introducing E15 into the marketplace is educating consumers and creating the market demand for the fuel. Again, Growth Energy took the lead, utilizing our NASCAR sponsorship platform. In partnership with American Ethanol, we launched a multimillion dollar national ad campaign in June, which includes a sweepstakes giving away three Chevrolet Silverado trucks as well as other exciting prizes.

Whether you follow NASCAR, or are a casual fan, you have likely seen our commercial several times this summer. Reaching more than 5 million viewers a weekend, our E15 campaign has been a tremendous success. While entertaining and funny, the message of the commercial is clear—E15 is the fuel for your car. One comical spot features American Ethanol NASCAR driver Austin Dillon and guest star Kevin Harvick. The commercial shows Dillon being passed on the track by the “Ferguson” family in a beige minivan running on E15. The narrator explains that NASCAR is powered by E15 and that your car can use it too, but reminds viewers not to let it go to their head!

By announcing the sweepstakes in the commercial, it was extremely successful in driving people to American Ethanol’s Facebook page, reaching well beyond NASCAR fans and thus increasing our efforts to educate more consumers of the benefits of American Ethanol and E15. As August draws to a close, the sweepstakes will end, but Growth Energy’s work will not. We will continue educating consumers about the benefits of E15.  Additionally, our team will continue to work with retailers on how to get E15 in their pumps, highlighting the proven economic advantages other retailers have experienced when increased ethanol blends are offered for sale.

Growth Energy’s core mission is to continue to promote the use of ethanol, as a way to reduce harmful emissions and spur economic growth in America, creating jobs and opportunities, while simultaneously reducing our addiction to foreign oil. E15 will not come to the market without a fight. Entrenched interests in foreign oil and the petroleum industry will continue to distort the truth in their misinformation campaigns.

We must persist, define and win over the public’s perception. We are on the side of American exceptionalism, investing in America and providing reliable, renewable fuel for American energy security and creating American jobs. Growth Energy will continue to build the market demand for E15 and work directly with retailers to help bring it to a station near you.

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