Ethanol groups plan E15, blender pump label campaigns

By Kris Bevill | August 03, 2011

The Renewable Fuels Association announced Aug. 1 that it will provide free EPA-approved E15 labels to gasoline marketers as part of its campaign to assist in making higher blends of ethanol available to consumers. The labels, which have a market value of about 75 cents each, will be required on all pumps dispensing E15 when the fuel becomes certified for sale later this year.

“Making sure consumers are aware of the availability and proper use of E15 ethanol blends is a critical component of expanding the market for ethanol,” Robert White, director of market development for the RFA, said. “Proper use of these labels will ensure gas stations and other fuel retailers choosing to offer E15 are complying with EPA labeling guidelines.”

The EPA approved E15 for commercial use in vehicle models 2001 and newer in a two-part ruling that was finalized in January. However, before the fuel can be legally sold, a host of regulatory requirements must be completed. That list included a label design for E15, which was issued by the EPA in late June. A number of steps still need to be exhausted before E15 can be made available, including registration of the fuel and EPA approval of health effects testing. These items are anticipated to be complete within the next few months and industry groups are hopeful that E15 will be available to consumers by the end of the year. It is important to note that while the EPA is allowing E15 to be used in vehicle model years 2001 and newer, it is not mandated. Retailers will simply have the option to offer it to their customers.

The RFA plans to reach out to members of the nation’s largest retail fuel groups, including the Petroleum Equipment Institute and the National Association of Convenience Stores, as well as other fuel retailing organizations to offer the complimentary E15 labels. The RFA is also joined with the American Coalition for Ethanol to promote the benefits of blender pumps and mid-level ethanol blends to retailers through the Blend Your Own ethanol campaign.

Growth Energy spokeswoman Stephanie Dreyer said her group is planning a campaign to distribute “station kits,” including pump labels, banners and for-purchase pump wraps, to retailers taking part in the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. This year was the first time that REAP funds were made available to retailers for the installation of blender pumps. The USDA is expected to begin notifying applicants who were approved for REAP grants and loans in early August.