Murphy USA to offer E15 in suburbs of Chicago, Houston

By Erin Voegele | February 16, 2015

Murphy USA Inc. has announced plans to bring E15 to consumers in the suburbs of Chicago and Houston this year. According to the company, the decision to expand E15 availability was made after several successful introductions of E15 in Iowa.

"We are excited to offer E15 in addition to our existing product offerings. Murphy USA will continue to pursue opportunities to offer the fuel our customer’s desire," said a spokesperson for Murphy USA in a statement.

Growth Energy has spoken out to applaud Murphy USA for its announcement. “Their dedication to providing the consumer with the best, most cost-effective product is commendable,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “Furthermore, we are thrilled to see Murphy USA’s success and decision to expand into new markets. Higher blends such as E15 are helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil, improve our environment through reduced emissions and support our domestic economy by creating jobs that cannot be outsourced.”

“Offering E15 is a win for retailers and consumers,” Buis added. “Retailers offering E15 have a competitive price advantage, while consumers are able to purchase a lower cost, better performing fuel compared to regular unleaded gasoline. We are thrilled to see Murphy USA expand their footprint and look forward to additional retail chains following their lead.”

For the past several months, the Chicago City Council has been debating an ordinance that would require filling stations within the city to supply E15. Murphy USA’s announcement prompted a strong reaction from Chicago Alderman Tony Beale, who with Aldermen Ed Burke and Ameya Pawar, introduced the E15 ordinance in July.

“While I welcome E15 to our region, it pains me that due to our 7-month process of debate, Chicago retailers have not had the ability to offer E15 first and therefore to more ably compete with suburban sellers,” said Beale in a letter to his colleagues. “This news, as welcome as it is, underscores the need to make sure the market is similarly open to retailers in the city, where Big Oil currently has the ability to block this choice of fuels from the market.”

“As a national distributor and retailer, Murphy USA can offer whatever products they like,” Beale continued. “Chicago retailers, on the other hand, are at the mercy of the Big Oil companies, who as we have seen through the thousands of dollars they’ve spent on ads, will go to any lengths to keep drivers dependent on fossil fuel, whatever the consequences for the health of our air and residents.”

“It’s time to end the monopoly and stranglehold of the oil companies – who keep us dependent on foreign oil and give us high prices and petcoke in return,” Beale said. “It’s time – for the good of Chicago’s air, for the good of Chicago’s health, for the good of Chicago’s beleaguered filling-station owners – to pass the Clean the Air with E15 ordinance.”

In December, the Chicago City Council Committee on Finance passed the ordinance.  A vote by the full council was later deferred

According to information released by Beale, a wide variety of organizations and individuals have signed on to support the ordinance, including the American Council on Renewable Energy, American Lung Association in Illinois, Argonne National Laboratory, Association Motor Club Marketing, Chicago gas station owner Luke Casson, Chicago Wilderness, Chicago Women Take Action, Citizen Action, DSM Bio-based Products & Services, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Fuels America, Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Renewable Fuels Association, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, Jim Houlihan (former Cook County Assessor), Minneapolis gas station owner Joel Hennen, NASCAR, National Corn Growers Association, National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center, National Farmers Union, Power Energy, Third Way, Travelers Motor Club, United Auto Workers, University of Illinois at Chicago Principal Economist Steffen Mueller, Urban Air Initiative, and more than 10,000 individuals who have signed petitions urging passage.  

For additional information on the Chicago Clean with E15 Ordinance, see “Chicagoan Sets Her Sights on Clean Air,” in the December issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine.