ACE is pushing for support for legislation that would extend RVP relief to E15 and other blends.
On April 13 and 14, the eighth annual fly-in for the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) took place in Washington D.C., and nearly 70 of ACE’s grassroots members were in attendance.
ACE members had more than 125 meetings with lawmakers representing 36 states on April 13 to convey the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and bipartisan legislation to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 and higher ethanol blends.
On April 14, ACE members heard from the USDA about the status of the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program, Congressman Adrian Smith on RVP legislation for E15 and higher ethanol blends and officials with the U.S. Grains Council on global ethanol demand.
With assistance from Senator John Thune, ACE hosted a congressional staff briefing on April 14 entitled: “What Blend Wall? Retailers confirm consumer interest in E15 and flex fuels.” Bruce Vollan, a convenience store owner from South Dakota will share his experience with flex pumps and consumer interest in E15 and flex fuels. Todd Garner, CEO of Protec Fuel, will discuss his experience helping 300 retailers across the South and Mid-Atlantic areas of the U.S. manage infrastructure installations for E15 and flex fuels.
“Our opponents are constantly telling Congress the RFS needs to be repealed and using E15 places cars and station owners at risk,” said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president. “During our fly-in, retailers join[ed] with ACE members to share their first-hand experience about the growing demand for low-cost, high-octane E15 and flex fuels thanks to Congress standing strong on the RFS.”
ACE is specifically pushing for additional cosponsors of S. 1239 and HR 1736, legislation which would extend RVP relief to E15 and other blends which have more ethanol but fewer evaporative emissions than E10 and gasoline during the June 1 through Sept. 15 summer ozone season. “E15 typically costs two to 10 cents per gallon less than E10, so refusing to allow the sale of this fuel in the summer robs consumers of the opportunity to buy a lower cost product which is cleaner than gasoline and E10,” said Jennings.
Drivers want this fuel, and it doesn’t cost an interested retailer an arm and a leg to get the right fueling equipment to sell higher blends of ethanol. That was the theme of ACE’s Congressional Briefing held in the Senate’s Russell Office Building on the 14th.
Participants in the hour long briefing were, ACE senior vice president Ron Lamberty, Pearson Fuels CEO Mike Lewis and Midway Service owner Bruce Vollan.
Lamberty said the briefing, combined with ACE’s fly-in, knocked down a few of the biggest scare stories surrounding the sale of higher blends like E15.
“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. 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 10% 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,” said Lamberty.
“Bruce has seen ethanol blends help his store grow from a tiny gas station into a multipurpose convenience and auto repair stop. And Bruce points out that his repair shop, has never had customers report any damage from using higher ethanol blends, Mike is a supplier of multiple locations like Bruce’s, offering E15 and E85 to drivers in the Pacific Coast. The Pearson Fuels model helps retailers buy competitively priced E85 and E15, which drives sales and customer counts and, in many cases, keeps the station competitive in the marketplace. Most importantly, both speakers will show they’ve already blown well past any mythical blend wall,” said Lamberty.
“The questions and interest we received in putting together this briefing will hopefully be instrumental to the ethanol industry going forward. The message that this fuel is cleaner, safe, cost effective and can be sold with a few equipment modifications or add-ons hit home during our fly-in and also did the same during our briefing today,” said Lamberty.