E15 pump in Iowa. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder
With E15 offerings on the rise across the U.S., the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has released a guide to assist retailers with choosing legal equipment with which to dispense the renewable fuel. The E15 retailer new equipment guide provides information on how to properly offer E15 at the retailer level.
In addition, RFA is highlighting what they believe are key items retailers should consider before ordering equipment:
- What are the equipment options to legally offer E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles?
- What are the various dispenser hose configurations allowed?
- What are the retail fuel dispenser labeling requirements for each configuration?
“Four years and 23 states later, confusion still remains in the fuel equipment and retailing communities when it comes to E15,” said Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “With this document, we hope we can eliminate the misinformation and ensure retailers get the appropriate equipment needed to safely and legally offer this relatively new fuel. With proper labeling and education, we look forward to seeing many more retailers, consumers and states embrace E15 in the near future.”
Iowa will see another year of funding for retailers to add blender pumps. The Iowa Legislature voted unanimously to allocate funding for the biodiesel and ethanol blender pump program known as the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently reported that interest in blender pumps is at an all time high and the last round of funding, totaling $3.2 million funded 68 projects. This marks the last year of funding for the program that kicks off the FY2017 fiscal year.
Biodiesel and ethanol pump in Des Moines, Iowa on April 24, 2016. Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder
“While we were hopeful for a long-term funding solution for the state’s renewable fuels infrastructure program, we’re very pleased today that the Iowa legislature was able to keep this vital initiative going for another year,” said IRFA Policy Director Grant Menke. “The USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership re-energized many Iowa retailers, leading to record participation in the blender pump program over the past year. This one-year funding extension allows us to build upon this momentum and ensure Iowans have greater access to cleaner-burning, lower-cost renewable fuels.”
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) offers cost-share grants to Iowa retailers wishing to upgrade fueling infrastructure to offer E15, E85 and/or biodiesel blends. Reimbursement can be up to 70 percent of the installation costs, up to a maximum of $50,000 per project, with a five-year commitment to sell E15, E85 or biodiesel blends.
“This legislation does permanently end the current source of RFIP funding, so finding a long-term funding solution will be a high priority for the biofuels and renewable retailers community next legislative session. Bottom line, this program provides immense benefits to Iowans in the form of cleaner air, competition at the pump, lower fuel prices, and a stronger Iowa economy,” added Menke.
Indiana fuel retailer Family Express has been awarded more than $789,000 through an Indiana blender pump program. The retailer will be using the monies to install 45 dispensers at 37 stations. Of the stations, 34 already sell E85 and E15 will be added to the fuel choice lineup. Family Express is also building three new stations and these will carry both E85 and E15. The grant dollars were awarded by the Indiana Corn Marketing Council through its Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program.
“We are glad to be able to help Family Express offer more ethanol blender pumps through the Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program,” said Ken Parrent, ethanol director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. “Indiana currently has more than 185 dedicated ethanol refueling stations for blends above 10 percent and thanks to this program, there will soon be more.”
Fiftenn of the stations are in EPA-designated ozone non-attainment areas and will be able to offer E15 year-round. The ethanol industry is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow E15 to be sold year round in all 50 states.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen said of the news, “We are pleased that Family Express has been able to take advantage of the Hoosier Homegrown Fuels Blender Pump Program and grow its offerings of higher ethanol blends. More blender pumps mean greater consumer access for ethanol blends, bringing about higher octane fuels and lower gasoline prices. We look forward to more stations offering fuels such as E15 in the near future.”
Fuel retailers disputed the existence of the mythical “blend wall” and told their success stories selling higher ethanol blends during a Congressional briefing last week at the end of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) legislative fly-in. Participants in the briefing for Congressional staffers were ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty, Pearson Fuels CEO Mike Lewis and Midway Service Owner Bruce Vollan.
“For years, we’ve been battling against an avalanche of misinformation about ethanol, the RFS, and E15, and yet there seem to be some lawmakers who have just given into this “cartoon villain” version of ethanol and are opposed for reasons that don’t exist,” said Lamberty. “Among the most frequent objections we hear are station owners don’t want to sell higher blends of ethanol, customers won’t buy them, and those factors create a mythical “blend wall” that makes it impossible to get beyond ten percent as required by the RFS. The best way to bust all of those myths is to introduce policymakers to people like Bruce and Mike whose real-world stories prove the naysayers are wrong, and higher ethanol blends are creating tremendous opportunities for station owners.”
Vollan talked about how has seen ethanol blends help his store grow from a tiny gas station into a multipurpose convenience and auto repair stop, and noted that he has never had customers report any damage from using higher ethanol blends. Pearson Fuels is a supplier of multiple locations offering E15 and E85 to drivers in the Pacific Coast and Lewis discussed the growth he has seen in demand since opening the nation’s first Alternative Fuel Station in San Diego in 2003.
ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album
All Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) wants is for consumers to be able to have the choice to fill up with 15% ethanol all year long. That’s why he introduced H.R. 1736 to extend the current EPA Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to include E15.
“My bill would reverse this antiquated, non-scientific regulation out of EPA that was created in 1990,” said Rep. Smith during an interview at the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual legislative fly-in. “It’s about generating interest and enthusiasm by consumers to exercise their choice.”
Smith recognizes that getting any legislation passed during this election year is challenging, but he hopes to find a legislative vehicle on which to attach the bill.
In this interview he also makes some comments about the budget and appropriations process going on in Congress right now: Interview with Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE)
ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album
In conjunction with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual legislative fly-in this week, the grassroots ethanol organization is running ads in Roll Call, a popular Capitol Hill publication. Today’s ad highlights the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and bipartisan legislation to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 and higher ethanol blends.
Charlie Good, an ASE-certified mechanic and convenience store owner from Nevada, Iowa, is featured in print and digital ads on April 13 in support of bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) to allow gas station owners to sell E15 year-round by updating EPA’s Reid vapor pressure regulation, which currently restricts the use of E15 in conventional gasoline areas of the country from June 1 to September 15. Good offers multiple fuel blends to his customers. “It does take your gallons down in the summer,” said Good. “I think it’s an unjust and unscientific law. People don’t understand why it’s okay one day it’s not okay the next day.”
Delayne Johnson, CEO of ACE-member Quad County Corn Processors, will be featured in a Roll Call print ad on Thursday highlighting how the RFS has enabled his company to become the first to successfully commercialize cellulosic biofuel from corn kernel fiber. Quad County produces two million gallons of cellulosic biofuel annually in addition to 35 million gallons of conventional biofuel.
Listen to an interview with Good here: Interview with Charlie Good, Iowa fuel retailers
ACE 2016 DC Fly-in Photo Album
According to Growth Energy, a major E15 milestone has been reached – drivers have driven more than 150 million miles using E15. The data came from gasoline retailers who work with Growth Energy who also said there have been no negative effects. Several retailers who offer E15 include Sheetz, Kum & Go, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA and Protec.
“I have been using E15 for the last three years at Minnoco and have noticed no mileage loss, better engine performance and great savings at the pump,” said Mark Foudray, an E15 consumer from Shakopee, Minnesota.
Steve Anderson, an AAA approved and ASE certified service consultant and owner/operator of Marshall Cretin Minnoco from St. Paul, Minnesota, said of E15, “We have a loyal following for the E15 product. Approaching 1,000,000 gallons pumped we have nothing but positive results. E15 has higher octane and burns cleaner —the interior of the engines are cleaner and the tailpipe makes more air, and less pollution. E15 has been widely tested and is safe for all vehicles model year 2001 and newer. We see over 50 percent of our customers purchasing E15 on a daily basis. The statistics don’t lie. It is a great product and we are pleased to offer it as a choice to our fueling customers.”
Joel Hennen, a third generation owner/operator of Hennen’s Auto Service from Shakopee, Minnesota who also sells E15 said, “I have been selling E15 to our customers since the fall of 2013. Since I introduced it, there has not been one complaint due to mileage loss or engine performance. I hear only positive comments with drivability and the lower cost at the pump. Today’s cars are designed to utilize the higher octane to improve performance through different computer management systems. I see higher-level blends of ethanol, like E15, being the next fuel of future.”
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen reacted today to a poll released by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) saying consumer awareness and knowledge of how to use higher ethanol blends remains relatively unchanged. The poll also found that consumers do not pay attention to the fuels they use. Dinneen pointed out that there has never been even one case of misfueling or engine damage since E15 was introduced into the marketplace. He also noted that E15 is sold at less than 2 percent of gas stations nationwide and the majority of people polled live nowhere near a station that sells E15. Dinneen added that education will come with more widespread use of higher ethanol blends including E15.
“By law, all gasoline station pumps must post clearly labeled signs indicating what fuel is being dispensed and what vehicles can operate on those fuels,” explained Dinneen. “For higher ethanol blends above 10 percent, only flexible fuel vehicles and 2001 and later model year vehicles are approved — not small engines, lawnmowers or any other off-road vehicle. This has been the case since EPA gave final approval to E15 in 2012, four years ago.”
Dinneen continued, “OPEI’s poll is insulting to consumers. OPEI seems to think the average consumer is stupid enough to purposely ignore a very clear label and knowingly violate the law to save a few cents per gallon on a typically low-volume fill up for small engines.
“E10 is sold at nearly every single gasoline station in the U.S. and has been used in small engines for decades. All major small engine manufacturers approve and warranty the use of E10 in their equipment.
“Ethanol blends are typically the lowest-cost fuel option at retail gasoline stations and E15 has generally been even cheaper than E10. That is good news for consumers. However, consumers are still smart enough to know they should use only approved fuels for their equipment. Continue reading
Thornton’s will be selling E15 at 43 Chicago-area locations by the end of this month. The fuel retailer has branded the ethanol blend Unleaded15.
“Unleaded 15 offers a great value to our Chicago guests, and supports our desire to provide the best possible fuel options,” said Jeff Gallic, Vice President of Fuel Supply. “Thorntons has offered E85 for years and given the market demand for higher ethanol blends, we feel Unleaded15 is the next logical step for our fuel portfolio.”
The industry responded to the news today with Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) stating, “We are pleased to see E15’s footprint growing throughout the country. Chicago consumers can now benefit from using a lower carbon, higher octane fuel blend that is approved for nearly 80% of today’s automotive fleet. This is also the first significant rollout of E15 in a reformulated gasoline market, designated by EPA in nearly 20 cities to help reduce smog levels with cleaner gasoline. That designation means E15 can be sold year-round in Chicago without being hampered by burdensome EPA gasoline volatility restrictions when the nation switches from winter to summer gasoline regulations.”
Growth Energy Co-Chair Tom Buis added, “On behalf of Growth Energy and its members, I would like to commend Thorntons for their decision to offer consumers Unleaded15, providing them with the opportunity to choose a homegrown, renewable fuel at the pump. By adding this E15 offering to their fuel portfolio, Thorntons has demonstrated their commitment to consumer choice, and a cleaner burning, homegrown high-performance fuel. Now Chicagoans will have the chance to do so as well by choosing to fill up with Unleaded15.”
E15 has made its debut in the Show-Me State at two Kum & Go locations in Springfield, Missouri. The fuel is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline and can be used on cars and light duty vehicles 2001 and newer.
“The availability of E15 is great news for Missouri drivers,” said Missouri Corn Growers Association President Morris Heitman of Mound City. “Ethanol is produced locally, with corn grown in Missouri. The addition of E15 at the pump provides an alternative to foreign oil and another opportunity to support this state’s rural economy.”
Kum & Go began offering E15 at their South Campbell location in Springfield March 2 and quickly followed suit at the North National station March 4. The chain anticipates six additional locations across Missouri will offer the ethanol blend by the end of the month, including two newly-constructed stores opening in Joplin and Republic featuring a new store prototype and fresh food offerings in addition to an expanded fuel selection.
“Kum & Go has a history of early adoption of ethanol blends, so the addition of E15 in Missouri is a natural fit for our fuel offering,” added Jim Pirolli, Kum & Go vice president of fuels. “E15 provides customers with a quality product at a great value-and one that’s in line with our focus on sustainability, as well.”