Tricia Braid

Jun 28, 2016  |  ICGA

Oak Lawn, Ill.--Thanks to the business leadership of Thorntons, Inc., and the availability of an innovative public-private partnership, another retail location is available for motorists to choose to fuel up with E15 or E85, fuel blends that include America's best renewable fuel choice: corn-based ethanol.

Thorntons, a regional, family-owned fuel company, is committed to making renewable fuels more widely available. To that end, they are in the process of converting 43 locations in Illinois to sell both E85 and Unleaded15 (Thorntons' brand of E15). On June 28th, their location at 9138 South Cicero Avenue in Oak Lawn served as host to visitors from the Illinois General Assembly who were on hand to learn about the importance of ethanol to Illinois consumers, our state's economy, and to Illinois corn farmers who depend on ethanol as their largest in-state market for their crop. To attract motorists to the choice and inform them of clean air benefits, the American Lung Association in Illinois offered $2 coupons to this Thorntons location.

"We have an important obligation to our farmer members to support opportunities for building corn demand, an obligation that is even more obvious in times of tight margins," explained Jeff Jarboe, Illinois Corn Growers Association President. "Thorntons has been an incredible ally to Illinois corn farmers in this work, as we join industry and government in building ethanol market expansion, all the while participating in a value chain that provides economic opportunity to consumers."

"Thorntons' commitment to ethanol-blended fuels represents a monumental change in renewable fuels marketing and provides consumers with real choices at the pump allowing them to save money and realize greater value in their fuels," Jarboe said. "Illinois Corn commends Thorntons for their vision, investment and commitment to providing additional fuel choices to their customers. They're providing a low-carbon, high octane choice at the pump that typically comes with a lower price tag, as well. That's music to everyone's ears."

Thorntons' conversions to E85 and Unleaded15 are part of the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership Program (BIP) funded in Illinois by an $11.97 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, with additional support from Illinois Corn Marketing Board using corn checkoff dollars, the Illinois Renewable Fuels Association, and Prime the Pump, an ethanol industry grant program. Thorntons became eligible for the BIP program through an application process and was chosen by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as the largest recipient of BIP funds in Illinois.

"The USDA BIP program, facilitated by the State of Illinois, and supported with added funds from the Illinois corn checkoff means added value for Illinois corn farmers, and for everyone else, too, as corn based ethanol helps clear the air, adds value to our economy, reduces foreign oil imports, and reduces fuel costs as the pump," Jarboe added.

Unleaded15 (up to 15% ethanol, 85% gasoline) provides an octane rating of 88, and is the most widely-tested fuel ever introduced to consumers. It contains approximately 15% ethanol, and is approved by the EPA for use in model year 2001 or newer cars, light duty trucks, SUV's and Flex Fuel™ vehicles. This fuel typically costs less than regular unleaded, and is believed to deliver better performance and fewer harmful emissions. Unleaded15 differs from E85, in that E85 is a Flex Fuel that is a mixture of up to 85% ethanol and 15% petroleum.

E85 can only be used in Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). By using E85, the average FFV driver will reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by 4 tons. E85 use reduces ozone-forming pollution by 20% and reduces life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions nearly 30%. This homegrown, renewable, plant-based fuel is a sharp contrast to gasoline which contains toxic compounds like benzene, toluene, and xylene. Drivers using ethanol blended fuels help reduce the release of these chemicals into the environment. The ethanol industry in Illinois currently produces enough ethanol to provide 30% of Illinois gasoline needs.

This newly converted Thorntons location at 9138 South Cicero Avenue in Oak Lawn joins some 275 other fuel retail locations in Illinois offering E85, E15, and other higher ethanol blends. Illinois Corn encourages farmers and motorists to get an account at and start reporting their price experiences on E85 and other higher blends so that other motorists may learn more about ethanol and make the same choice for their families.


About the Illinois Corn Growers Association

Illinois Corn Growers Association is a state based organization that represents the interests of corn farmers in Illinois, maintaining a high profile on issues in Washington, DC, and Springfield, IL. They aim to create and maintain opportunities for Illinois corn farmers to capture more value for their product. In order to fulfill this mission, the organization conducts governmental affairs activities at all levels, market development projects, and educational and member service programs. For further information regarding their work and involvement, visit their website