Reynolds, Naig Highlight Fueling Our Future 100

During the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, along with Mike Naig, deputy secretary of agriculture, highlighted the new “Fueling Our Future 100” program. In round one, the program has allocated $2.49 million dollars to help Iowa gas retailers install 107 blender pumps and 8 underground storage tanks to store high blends of ethanol. Naig said applications for the 2nd round of funding are due February 1, 2016.

Kim Reynolds and Mike NaigReynolds noted that each blender pump installed benefits Iowa’s agricultural economy and supports good jobs for Iowa families. Adding blender pumps also gives consumers more choices at the pump, she added.

“Thanks to the support of our federal partners at the USDA, the ‘Fueling our Future 100’ program is going to ensure that consumers in our state have greater access to biofuels.  We’re appreciative of companies like Five Star Coop, New Century Farm Services, Kum & Go, STAR Energy and Three Rivers Farm Services Company for their efforts in continuing to put Iowa on the forefront of an even greater renewable future.”

The  Fueling Our Future 100 received a $5 million competitive grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program.  All funds must be matched by non-federal funds, including up to $2.5 million from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure program. The fueling sites applying for assistance will also be required to provide a minimum of $2.5 million.

Listen to Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynold’s remarks here: IA Lt Gov Kim Reynolds' Remarks

Listen to Iowa Ag Deputy Secretary Mike Naig’s remarks here: Mike Naig's Remarks

10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album

“Kirby’s Future” Wins Fuel the Future Video Contest

A young woman from Des Moines, Iowa, Helena Gruensteid, who attends Roosevelt High School, took home the top honors in the Fuel the Future video contest. The top three placing high school videos were unveiled yesterday during the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit held in Altoona, Iowa. Gruensteid was awarded $1,000 for her video “Kirby’s Future. The contest was sponsored by the BrownWinick Law Firm.

Evan Boss, Brock Henderson, and Christian Moore of North Linn High School and North Linn FFA and won the $600 second place prize for their video entitled, “North Linn FFA E15 Video.”

Hannah Song, a senior at Iowa City West High School, was awarded the $400 third place prize for her video entitled, “Fuel the Future with E15.”

“I want to thank all of the Iowa high school students who took on the challenge of entering this year’s contest and learning about the benefits of using renewable fuels, like E15 and biodiesel,” said IRFA Communications Director T.J. Page. “While all of the videos were fantastic, Helena’s entry stood out for its entertaining storyline, and imaginative presentation of benefits of using homegrown, cleaner-burning E15.”

View the 10th Annual Renewable Fuels Summit Photo Album.

2015 Sees Record Car Sales, Most Approved for E15

U.S. car sales in 2015 hit record sales according to statistics from Autodata. Increased sales have been spurred by cheap gasoline prices coupled with low interest rates. In total, 17.5 million cars and light trucks were sold last year to the tune of $570 billion.

According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), a majority of these vehicles sold are approved for the use of E15 (15 percent ethanol; 85 percent gas). In 2016, an even more cars and light trucks are expected to be approved for E15 use by automakers.

E15 at the pump

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

RFA estimates that E15 was identified by auto manufacturers as an approved fuel for slightly more than 60 percent of model year (MY) 2015 vehicles sold – nearly 10.7 million cars and light trucks. This number is expected to grow in 2016, as strong sales are expected to continue and more than 70 percent of MY2016 vehicles carry the manufacturers’ explicit endorsement of E15. Recent analysis by RFA showed that Fiat Chrylser, General Motors, Ford, Toyota/Lexus, Audi/Porsche/Volkswagen, Honda/Acura, Jaguar, and Land Rover all clearly identify E15 as an approved fuel for MY2016 vehicles.

“With each passing day, the number of automakers approving the use of E15 vehicles on U.S. roadways continues to grow,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “As we begin 2016 three important trends are worth noting: first, vehicle sales show no signs of slowing down; second, an even larger percentage of new cars, pickups, and SUVs are explicitly approved by their manufacturer for E15; and third, the oldest vehicles in the fleet— model years 2000 and older not EPA-approved for E15 use —are being scrapped at an accelerated rate. This means that someday in the not-so-distant future, nearly every car, truck, or SUV in the country will be unambiguously approved by the auto manufacturer for E15 and we can put to rest the false notion that carmakers don’t allow the use of E15.”

While automakers only began identifying E15 as an approved fuel for new vehicles following registration of E15 as a legal fuel in 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use of E15 in all vehicles built since 2001. This means more than 85 percent of the vehicles on the road today are legally approved to use E15.

RFA Analysis: More Automakers Approving E15

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

According to an analysis conducted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) of 2016 model year (MY) warranty statements and owners manuals, auto makers are approving E15 use in more than 70 percent of new vehicles. This is an increase from MY 2015 when a little over 60 percent of vehicles were approved to use E15.

RFA’s analysis shows that, for the first time, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA Group) has approved the use of E15 in its MY 2016 Chrysler/Fiat, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram vehicles. FCA’s decision means it joins the other members of the “Detroit Three” (General Motors and Ford) in unequivocally allowing E15. Other key points from RFA’s analysis include:

  • GM started approving the use of E15 with its MY 2012 vehicles, while Ford joined a year later with its MY 2013 vehicles.
  • More than 45 percent of the vehicles sold in the United States this year have been produced by the Detroit Three, according to industry data.
  • Other automakers offering explicit approval of E15 in MY 2016 vehicles include Toyota/Lexus, Audi/Porsche/Volkswagen, Honda/Acura, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Together with the Detroit Three, these manufactures have produced approximately 72 percent of the vehicles sold in 2015.
  • When flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) produced by Nissan and Mercedes-Benz are included, RFA estimates the percentage of MY 2016 automobiles explicitly approved by manufacturers to use E15 is even larger (FFVs are approved to use up to 85 percent ethanol blends).
  • With a U.S. market share of 8.5 percent, Nissan Motor Company is the largest “hold-out” when it comes to approving the use of E15 in its vehicles. Nissan even goes as far as suggesting that “E-15 fuel will adversely affect the emission control devices and systems of the vehicle,” which raises questions about why Nissan is not able to provide the same quality of technology as automakers approving the use of E15. Curiously, Nissan also warns drivers that oxygenates like ethanol “can cause paint damage.”
  • Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru also continue to exclude E15 from their fuel recommendations. Together, these three foreign automakers account for about 11 percent of U.S. auto sales. While Subaru recommends that gasoline used in its vehicles contain “no more than 10% ethanol,” it allows the use of gasoline containing 15% MTBE—a toxic substance banned in dozens of states because of groundwater pollution concerns.
  • Interestingly, BMW’s MINI Hardtop appears to allow the use of 25% ethanol blends. The manufacturer states, “Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 25%, i.e., E10 or E25, may be used for refueling.”

“This analysis should open some eyes and finally lay to rest the ridiculous myth that automakers do not allow the use of E15 in their vehicles,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “In fact, 2016 will be the fifth year in a row in which some auto manufacturers have explicitly included E15 in owners’ manuals and warranty statements as an approved fuel. With each passing year, more and more vehicles sold in the U.S. carry the manufacturer’s unequivocal approval for E15; and with each passing year, the auto warranty misinformation campaign undertaken by AAA and Big Oil fades further into irrelevance.” Continue reading

Ethanol Promo in Little Rock, AK This Week

Kum & Go and Growth Energy are partnering to bring $1.15 per gallon of E15 fuel to the residents of Greater Little Rock, Arkansas. The two-day promotion will take place from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Wednesday, December 16 – Store 143 – 1303 South Pine Street, Cabot, AR; and Thursday, December 17 – Store 144 – 5216 JFK Blvd, North Little Rock, AR. During these promotions customers can fuel up with E15 for only $1.15 per gallon, as well as learn more about the benefits of this alternative fuel.

Kum & Go station in Des Moines offering E15. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Kum & Go station in Des Moines offering E15. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

There are only 120 locations nationwide that offer E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. Since ethanol is cleaner and has a higher octane content than street-grade gasoline, E15 reduces the number of pollutants in fuel and produces less carbon emissions than regular gasoline. In addition, E15 is typically the less expensive option at the pump. E15 can be used in vehicles model year 2001 and newer, and in all flex-fuel vehicles.

“We’re happy to deliver a little something extra to our customers during the busy and expensive holiday season,” said Jim Pirolli, vice president Fuels, Kum & Go. “This is a great opportunity for our customers to learn more about the benefits of E15, while at the same time saving a bit of money.”

Over the next two years, Kum & Go plans to make E15 available at more than 65 stores across Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. “As the leading coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters, Growth Energy is committed to accelerating the use of renewable fuel, increasing energy security, creating U.S. jobs and improving the environment through the use of alternative fuels,” added Retired General Wesley Clark, board member of Growth Energy.

RFA: Revise RVP Rules to Level Playing Field

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is calling for more higher-level ethanol blends to enter the U.S. fuel supply. In a letter the ethanol organization called on Christopher Grundler, director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality for the Environmental Protection Agency, to update regulations to allow EPA to grant a 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure waiver for other ethanol blends besides E10.

E15 pump Photo Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

“EPA’s current regulatory scheme creates an uneven playing field for E15 and other higher-level ethanol blends,” Dinneen said. “Many gasoline retailers have rejected E15 because EPA’s current RVP regulations make it nearly impossible for them to sell E15 to EPA-approved conventional automobiles all year-round. And most gas stations are not willing to dedicate storage space or dispensing equipment for a fuel that they can only sell for part of the year.”

In the letter, Dinneen noted that vehicle technology and emissions control systems have significantly evolved since 1989, when the 1-psi waiver was developed by EPA as a means of ensuring the availability of E10. “Ethanol availability and markets have … changed,” wrote Dinneen. “Today, E10 blends represent more than 95% of total gasoline sales in the United States. Marketers no longer are faced with the challenge of finding appropriate blendstocks for E10. Rather, marketers wishing to increase their use of renewable fuels beyond E10 are faced with the same dilemma E10 marketers faced 30 years ago.”

According to the letter: “The 1-psi RVP waiver – originally provided to expand the production and use of fuel ethanol – is now having a perverse effect of discouraging greater ethanol use in today’s gasoline market, and it is obstructing the successful implementation of important fuel and carbon reduction policies enacted since then, including the Renewable Fuel Standard (#RFS).” Dinneen encouraged EPA to use its authority to take immediate action by requiring refiners to lower the RVP of summertime conventional blendstock to 8.0 psi. He stated that such an action would allow gasoline retailers to give consumers access to a full spectrum of renewable fuel blends, and it would also clear the way for higher-level ethanol blends like E20 or E25 to meet applicable gasoline RVP requirements. Continue reading

Florida Station Promotes Higher #Ethanol Blends

protec-citgo-signThe prices for higher ethanol blends at the Citgo Gas Station on John Young Parkway in Kissimmee are low normally, but Friday they were even lower as the retailer continued to celebrate the ability to offer lower cost fuel to consumers.

Motorists who might have been in town for a weekend at the theme parks were able to fill up Friday for an additional discount on the E15 ethanol blend fuel of $.15, OR for $.85 off E85 Flex-Fuel, a fuel for Flex-Fuel gasoline engines.

Station owner Paul Przychocki of Mid-State Energy has worked to offer higher ethanol blends at his retail outlets because he is a big believer in the fuel. “I personally use it in my vehicle,” he said, noting that he drives a 2011 model that can use E15. “It’s put Americans back to work and (helped us) get away from foreign oil that unfortunately we have to supply in America.”

Przychocki partnered with Protec Fuel to install the new pumps at the Kissimmee station with the help of USDA Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership funding. Here’s an interview with Przychocki when the partnership was announced. Interview with Paul Przychocki, Mid-State Energy

#Ethanol Blends Help Consumers and Retailers

protec-citgo-signThe price sign at the Citgo station in Kissimmee Wednesday told the real story of how higher ethanol blends can save consumers money at the pump and it helps the retailers as well.

“It’s been a great thing for us,” said Paul Przychocki of Mid-State Energy, which owns the Kissimmee station and several others. “This store is considerably up over last year, in the last 4-5 months since we put the E85/E15 combination in.”

Przychocki partnered with Protec Fuel to install the new pumps at the Kissimmee station with the help of USDA Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership funding. “This is the third site that we’ve done with Protec and every time we’ve done a site it’s taken off,” he said.

Listen to an interview with Przychocki here: Interview with Paul Przychocki, Mid-State Energy

Protec Fuel's Steve Walk, Citgo station owner Paul Przychocki, and Protec CEO Todd Garner

Protec Fuel’s Steve Walk, Citgo station owner Paul Przychocki, and Protec CEO Todd Garner

Protec Fuel CEO Todd Garner says they are happy to help retailers like Przychocki bring higher ethanol blends to consumers. “We’ve been doing this since 2006, since the original RFS, and trying to get higher blend ethanol out to our customer base,” he said. That’s why they are so pleased with the USDA grant funding announced this week in Kissimmee. “It costs the stations a lot of money and we’re fortunate that the government and USDA have taken the initiative to allow consumers to participate in lower cost, higher blend fuels,” said Garner.

Garner says continued support for the Renewable Fuel Standard is crucial to increase market penetration for renewable fuels. “It’s really important because it’s going to allow us to beat that blend wall,” he said. “I think we just need to come to a middle ground and make both sides fairly happy because ultimately the consumer is going to benefit.”

Listen to my interview with Todd here: Interview with Protec Fuel CEO Todd Garner

USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photos

BIP Announcement Welcome News by Ethanol Industry

This week Big Oil launched yet another anti-RFS campaign and has also been calling for an end to programs that support the development of biofuel infrastructure. As such, it was welcomed news this week when USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced while at a Protec Fuel station in Florida, $100 million in funding to increase retail pumps for higher ethanol blends in 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). Private partners have matched the funding 1 to 1 with another $100 million in commitments.

USDA BIP Announcement at Protec Fuel stationRon Lamberty, American Coalition for Ethanol’s senior vice president was happy to hear the news as well as shared support for Protec who has been a leader in the southeast in bringing higher ethanol blends to drivers.

“This is a great day for petroleum marketers who want to offer cleaner fuels, and an even better day for drivers, who will save money with more biofuel options at the pump,” said Lamberty. “The USDA-BIP program funds will assist station owners who want to stand out from the competition and offer fuel blends like E15 and E85 to consumers. Making higher ethanol blends available in more stations from coast to coast has been a priority of Secretary Vilsack, and this program does that, by offering funds to retailers from Pennsylvania to Texas, and from Florida to Colorado.”

Once such matching infrastructure program is the Prime the Pump Fund. Organizers of the campaign thanked USDA for their commitment to helping drivers have access to cleaner, greener domestically produced fuels.

“The investment the USDA and other industries are making to give consumers more choices at the pump goes a long way to break Big Oil’s stranglehold on the fuel market,” said Ray Defenbaugh, chairman of the Prime the Pump Fund following the BIP announcement.  “America’s farmers and biofuel producers can provide a cleaner, greener, higher octane fuel that actually lowers the price of gasoline at the pump. We’re now seeing several of the nation’s leading fuel retailers making these fuel blends available to consumers and these USDA funds will help to make this continue to happen. I would like to thank the USDA and specifically Secretary Vilsack for their leadership and commitment to rural America.”

View the USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photo album.

 

USDA Announces Biofuels Infrastructure Funds

vilsack-protecAgriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was at a Citgo station in Kissimmee, Florida today to announce a USDA partnership to increase fueling pumps for biofuels in 21 states through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP).

The investment will nearly double the number of fueling pumps nationwide that supply renewable fuels to American motorists. “The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is one more example of how federal funds can be leveraged by state and private partners to deliver better and farther reaching outcomes for taxpayers,” said Vilsack.

The 21 states participating in the BIP include Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The final awards being announced today are estimated to expand infrastructure by nearly 5,000 pumps at over 1,400 fueling stations.

Vilsack was joined by representatives from Growth Energy and Florida-based Protec Fuel to make the announcement. “We’re very excited about this USDA program because we’re going to be opening up sites in other parts of Florida, as well as across the country,” said Protec Fuel VP of Operations and Business Development Steve Walk. “What this program is going to help us do is help speed up the growth” of stations offering higher ethanol blends.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis congratulated Protec Fuel and thanked Secretary Vilsack for his support of renewable fuels. “The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is helping us to further leverage industry funds to gain measurable market access in a far timelier manner than we could accomplish otherwise,” said Buis.”

Listen to remarks from Walk, Buis and Vilsack here: Secretary Vilsack announces biofuels infrastructure funding

Vilsack remarks to the media: Secretary Vilsack comments on Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership

USDA-Protec Fuel Biofuel Pump Funding Announcement photos