8.18.2015 | printed in the Summer 2015 issue of VITAL magazine
In our last issue of Vital, we gave you an insider’s look at the industry’s efforts to expand E15 infrastructure through the Prime the Pump program, which provides grants to install pumps and infrastructure to handle E15 and higher blends. We are happy to report that even more fuel retailers are coming to the table to market more ethanol and bring additional fuel choices to consumers across the country.
Seven years ago, Growth Energy wrote and submitted the E15 waiver to the EPA – our very first regulatory action. Those that helped with the waiver process were confident it would change the world. It turns out they were right. As motorists choose a cheaper, cleaner, higher octane fuel for their cars, we hope to see retailers continue putting E15 in their pumps. But it will not come without all of us working hard and working together.
E15 will have a tremendous impact on the Midwest and on worldwide agriculture by creating 2 billion bushels of new corn demand. If history is our teacher, increased demand for corn should result in sustainable world commodity prices which creates incentive for farming across the globe. Without E15, there is risk we will return to $1.50-2.50 corn, a paralyzed ag economy and the need for massive government subsidies. It will also significantly damage agriculture in almost every country across the globe.
We are well aware we can’t just sit back and wait for retailers to realize the many benefits of E15. Education is a key component to our strategy, for both retailers and for consumers. Because of the Prime the Pump program, several of the top retail chains in the country have launched E15 initiatives. Most recently, Kum & Go – the fifth-largest, privately held and company-operated convenience store chain in the U.S. – announced with Prime the Pump that it will make E15 available at over 65 stores across Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Dakota over the next two years. And more announcements are coming soon.
E15 is clearly gaining momentum. Leading retailers are starting to see the opportunity this fuel blend provides for their profitability and their consumers’ cars. E15 pumps wealth into our rural economies, helps clean our air and decreases our reliance on foreign oil. And we all know this fuel has lived up to the performance challenge – NASCAR has already run more than seven million successful miles on Sunoco Green E15!
Dominos will continue to fall in the quest for E15 pumps nationwide, but it will take a serious effort by the ethanol industry, farmers, agriculture companies and individuals like you to help make that happen. To date, over $30 million has been raised for Prime the Pump, mostly from ethanol producers, including POET, with help from a few ag companies. Recently, USDA announced an additional $100 million in funds for ethanol infrastructure, but matching funds will be needed to obtain USDA dollars. We need more people and companies to step up and write a check and make an investment in their future. It will take time, money and hard work from all of us, but none of us can afford to rest until E15 is available at every gas station in America.
Other Stories in this collection:
In Sight: A Tremendous Impact
by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and Founder of POET