Grassroots Voice: "Moving to E15 Would Boost Domestic Fuel Supply"
by Brian Jennings
Hurricanes Gustav and Ike have seriously disrupted the supply of gasoline. Nearly a quarter of our nation’s fuel production is shut down, and about 20 percent of U.S. refining capacity could be lost for months. As a result, the average price for a gallon of gas has increased.
In response, states are seeking and the Environmental Protection Agency is granting temporary waivers for certain requirements for gasoline, providing more flexibility to blenders in an attempt to help supply keep up with demand. And, bizarrely, the federal government is pleading with our international partners to ship more finished gasoline to the U.S. in order to help deal with the supply squeeze.
While officials wring their hands trying to tinker around the edges and beg foreign nations to free up more gasoline, a largely overlooked source of meaningful relief comes in the form of ethanol – more of it, to be exact.
State and federal officials should look at increasing the base percentage of ethanol allowed in gasoline from 10 percent up to 15 percent, or even 20 percent. Even if it's a temporary measure, this would be an immediate solution to increase the availability of fuel.
Why would E15 help?
-- Ethanol costs significantly less than gas, so using more of it will help bring down the price of fuel to Americans who are reeling from an economy on the ropes.
-- E15 is substantially comparable to the E10 base blend that’s already approved by the EPA and by the automakers for use in all vehicles on the road today.
-- E15 would work seamlessly in the existing retail infrastructure; in fact, many gas pumps are likely already approved by Underwriters Laboratories to dispense E15.
-- U.S. ethanol biorefineries are capable of increasing output to satisfy the demand for more ethanol.
-- Motorists wouldn’t be forced to use E15, but it would give some the choice to select a product that is less expensive than gasoline today. Consumers who prefer to use gasoline would still have the option.
ACE has been making the case for midrange ethanol blends to state and federal officials for some time now. If you agree with us, please share this message with others and encourage state and federal officials to consider E15 an option as the nation struggles to cope in wake of hurricanes and other forces that cause fuel supply shortages.