Survey for API finds voter concern about year-round ethanol mandate

Source: By Nick Snow, OGJ Washington Editor • Posted: Friday, November 2, 2018

A Harris Poll survey commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute found that a majority of US voters are concerned about the Trump administration’s plans to permit the year-round sale of gasoline with a 15% ethanol blend, API said on Oct. 29. The study was conducted by telephone of 1,001 registered voters across the country on Oct. 12-16 with a +/-3.1% sampling error, it said.

Voters who participated in the poll also expressed concern about the mandate potentially increasing consumer costs, motorists possibly using E15 by mistake and damaging their vehicles’ engines, and government requirements that potentially could breach the “blend wall”—the 10% level of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply that studies have shown could increase gasoline prices by as much as 28¢/gal, API indicated.

“These numbers reinforce the need for the administration to reconsider this decision to allow year-round sale of E15,” API Downstream and Industry Operations Vice-Pres. Frank Macchiarola said. “Voters understand that allowing sale of a fuel that is not designed for nearly 75% of cars on the road today puts consumers at risk.”

In response, Renewable Fuels Association Pres. Geoff Cooper said API’s latest survey was so manipulative that it bullied respondents into answering questions exactly as API wanted. “With the midterm elections just 8 days away, recent polling conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of RFA found that 85% of voters expressing an opinion on E15 said they would be more inclined to vote for a candidate who supported its year-round sale,” Cooper said.