Illinois group asks Obama to move on E12

By Holly Jessen | July 15, 2010
Posted Aug. 19, 2010

A group from Illinois, including several fuel retailers, is the latest to ask for the immediate approval of E12. A letter sent to President Barack Obama on Aug. 13 said the group strongly supported E15 but that approving E12 now would be a "prudent interim step" as a decision from the U.S. EPA is already nearly nine months overdue.

"With ethanol being blended today in over 85 percent of the U.S. gasoline pool, we have already started to run out of gallons of gasoline to blend 10 percent ethanol into (the blend wall) and this reality is forcing the ethanol industry to reduce or export production while realizing less return per gallon," the letter said.

The letter was signed by representatives from the Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Renewable Fuels Association, Growmark, Center Oil Co., Aventine Renewable Energy, Qik N EZ Convenience Stores, Illinois Farm Bureau, Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Hucks Food and Fuel. "We hope President Obama will direct the U.S. EPA to immediately allow for E12 in the U.S. fuel supply," said Tim Lenz, a farmer from Strasburg, Ill., and president of ICGA. "Every day that goes by with the 10 percent blend wall means another day lost toward less dependence on foreign oil. Every day that goes by is a day lost in what could be an immediate stimulus to this country's rural economies."
The Renewable Fuels Association has also asked the president to approve E12 immediately, followed by an approval of E15. "The RFA believes that the science supports a full and complete waiver for E15 use in all vehicles ," said Matt Hartwig, RFA's director of communications.

Growth Energy, on the other hand, has not changed its position since asking the EPA to raise the base blend from E10 to E15 in March 2009, said Tom Buis, CEO of the organization. The group feels the EPA should immediately approve E15, he told EPM. "All of the data we submitted along with our waiver showed that cars can run on E15 without any impact on their drivability and durability," he said. "We are confident that the EPA tests will show the same results."

After delaying the decision twice, the EPA has indicated it will come out with a decision this fall. It will come in two stages, Buis said, with the decision on cars model year 2007 and older coming in September and the decision on cars 2001 and older in November. Many in the industry, including RFA, are concerned it will cause confusion if the EPA only approves E15 for newer cars.