New poll shows 82 percent of Americans support E15

By Chris Hanson | September 19, 2013

After surveying more than 1,000 U.S. citizens, Fuels America released its polling results, which discovered 82 percent of U.S. citizens support the availability of E15 ethanol blends at their local gas stations.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans understand that having options when you fill up at the gas station is a good thing. They have spoken loud and clear that they want access to clean, homegrown renewable fuel,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “What we clearly see from this poll is that consumers like higher blends of ethanol in their gas because it saves them money. Ethanol is currently trading 80 cents lower than regular unleaded gasoline and the bottom line is that ethanol provides consumers a choice and savings at the pump.”

Roughly 70 percent of respondents desired higher blends at the pumps, Buis explained. He added nearly four out of five believed the oil industry’s effort to block E15 was bad for consumers. “People want oil to quit running these negative campaigns and denying them at the pump,” Buis said.

Other speakers during a teleconference following the poll release aimed to dispel messages promoted by the oil industry, such as high costs to implement E15 and lack of demand from customers and retailers.

Last week, the Petroleum Equipment Institute released a report that showed, in some cases, a retailer may only need to invest $1,200 to update an entire station, said Robert White, director of market development from the Renewable Fuels Association. “It’s nowhere near the $200,000 to $300,000 that’s been quoted almost religiously by E15’s opponents for the past couple years,” added White.

Scott Zaremba, owner of Zarco USA gas stations, explained how an oil company implemented rules that prohibited him from selling E15. In July 2012 he became the first retailer in the U.S. to offer E15 under Phillips 66 name. However, Phillips implemented rules that discouraged Zaremba from selling E15, which led to him branding his own company, Zarco USA, to sell the fuel. “It’s been a difficult road to get here, to be able to sell this product to the consumer because of some of the things the opponents did not want to see happen, and that was simply to have a choice, and give us the opportunity to blend fuels and bring that to the consumer,” Zaremba said. “My customers love E15. And that’s no surprise, because I have had customers tell me their mileage has increased when using E15. It’s another choice for drivers and people like to have choices.”

 Ethanol does not ruin vehicle engines, said mechanic and radio show host Bobby Likis. “Of the 200,000 engines I’ve serviced, none of them have been damaged by ethanol,” he said. “Not one.” Likis added that some car manufacturing executives have announced the phasing out of conventional engines in favor of newer, turbo engines that benefit from higher octane fuel, such as E15. “Ethanol is not the problem, it’s the solution.”