During a January 5 meeting in Chicago, IL, the Illinois Petroleum Council confirmed what Illinois Corn was wondering. A majority of the industry DOES disagree with the EPA’s bifurcation of the higher blends rule and believes that better and more effective options for consumer choice and energy security existed.
Apparently, the US EPA has once again allowed agenda to take precedence over science; their efforts to stall the ethanol industry have simply resulted in joining an interesting “coalition” of groups together, hoping that E15 approval for model year vehicles 2001 and newer happens quickly.
In October, the EPA released its plans to allow E15 (a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) for cars model years 2007 and newer. At the time, then President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association Tim Lenz commented, “Logistically, approving higher blends for cars 2007 and newer sets up such a limited market that there won’t be much incentive for gasoline retailers to offer E15.”
The rule has left petroleum marketers concerned that they will be liable for consumer misfueling. Representatives from small engine groups that work on chainsaw motors, boat motors, and more are worried that the lower price of the fuel will encourage consumers to misfuel their small engines and lead to more problems. The limited approval for E15 has caused a logistics nightmare.
A majority of the groups discussing the move to E15 agreed that the better option was for the EPA to approve E12 for all vehicles instead of bifurcating the rule. Present for this particular discussion were Illinois River Energy, Engine Manufacturer’s Association, Marathon Petroleum Refiners, Illinois Petroleum Manufacturers Association, Illinois State Fire Marshal, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Illinois EPA and Ford Motor Company.
Another discussion concerned the US EPA’s proposed E15 label which produces more fear than knowledge. Many in the forum felt that the current E85 label works well and that an E15 label could be based on a similar format. An E15 label should be informational, not sensational.