Op-Ed: E15 fuel should be available year-round

Source: By Raymond E. Defenbaugh, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, June 1, 2017

In Iowa, we’re lucky to have more than 100 convenience stores offering higher ethanol blends at the pump like E15. However, an outdated Environmental Protection Agency regulation restricts the sale of E15 in summer, when it must either be sold as a fuel for Flex Fuel vehicles only or pulled out of circulation altogether.

In 1990, Congress capped evaporative emissions measured by Reid Vapor Pressure and specifically allowed E10 to be sold year-round under the RVP law. Congress didn’t envision E15 being available 27 years ago, but must fix this now to allow Iowa retailers to sell a cleaner-burning, more economical fuel to their customers in the summer. E15 is kinder to the environment, is a smarter choice for engines, saves up to 10 cents per gallon, and boosts Iowa’s economy.

Fortunately, Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are working hard to fix this needless burden for retailers and to give American drivers the choice of E15 year-round. The solution, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517), will give consumers access to higher ethanol blends in summer, providing a critical market for struggling farmers and driving economic growth in America’s heartland. This legislation will also create more certainty in the marketplace, driving investments for technology, and innovation in advanced and cellulosic biofuels.

— Raymond E. Defenbaugh, president, CEO, chairman, Big River Resources, LLC, West Burlington