Aug 16, 2010  |  Today's News |  ICGA

Bloomington, Ill.—Leaders representing Illinois agriculture, fuel retailers, and ethanol manufacturers sent a letter to the White House last Friday urging President Barack Obama to immediately approve the use of 12 percent ethanol (E12) in our nation’s fuel supply.

The fuel market in the United States is nearly saturated with the allowable amount of ethanol, a 10 percent blend as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This arbitrary blend level assigned by EPA represents a barrier to market access, commonly called the “blend wall.”  The blend wall will soon prevent fuel retailers from using enough ethanol to satisfy congressional requirements within the Renewable Fuels Standard of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

“We hope President Obama will direct the U.S. EPA to immediately allow for E12 in the U.S. fuel supply,” said Tim Lenz, a farmer from Strasburg, IL, and President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. “Every day that goes by with the 10 percent blend wall means another day lost toward less dependence on foreign oil. Every day that goes by is a day lost in what could be an immediate stimulus to this country’s rural economies.”

“This isn’t just corn farmers and ethanol interests supporting a move to E12. When you see independent gasoline retailers signing on to this effort it’s an indication of a strong coalition of broad-based support. If it’s good for consumers, it’s good for the gasoline retailers. A move to E12 is good for farm communities, it’s good for the environment, it’s good for cash-strapped drivers,” Lenz continued.

This requested move to E12 is a prudent interim step as EPA complicates the decision making process on a waiver request to allow for E15, a fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent petroleum-based gasoline. A decision on that request is now nearly 9 months overdue, costing American drivers at the pump every time they fill up. The signers of this letter to President Obama firmly believe that conclusive evidence exists that proves increasing the ethanol blend from 10 to 12 percent has no negative effects on automobile performance. Furthermore, they anticipate EPA’s eventual science-based approval of E15 fuel blends.

The signers to the letter include representatives from the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Renewable Fuels Association, GROWMARK, Center Oil Company, Aventine Renewable Energy, Qik N EZ Convenience Stores, Illinois Farm Bureau, ADM, and Hucks Food and Fuel.