Iowa fuel retailers at 37 locations across the state began selling E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles again on September 16, providing another lower-cost, cleaner-burning fuel option for the majority of motorists on the road.
"E15 is the lowest-cost fuel for the vast majority of Iowans on the road today, and we're excited 2001 and newer vehicle owners across the state can once again reap the benefits of E15," says Lucy Norton, managing director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA). "With millions of miles already driven on E15, Iowa motorists can choose E15 with confidence, knowing it's a safe, economical fueling option that provides nearly identical fuel economy to E10."
Following a three-month break in sales of E15 to vehicles that are model year 2001 and newer, a break that is due to a quirk in federal regulations, the sale of E15 as a registered fuel in Iowa returned on September 16. EPA has yet to equalize the vapor pressure regulations for E10 and E15 during the summer driving season, which runs from June 1 through September 15 each year. As a result, the sale of E15 in Iowa is restricted to flex-fuel vehicles only during that timeframe. To re-introduce E15 into the marketplace in Iowa, the IRFA is kicking-off a consumer education campaign to inform motorists of the benefits of E15.
Many Iowa drivers are interested in using E15 ethanol blend
"There's loads of interest in E15 among Iowa drivers, and quite a bit of misinformation out there, so we're doing our part to educate motorists on the benefits of this higher blend American-made fuel," Norton says. "IRFA staff and ethanol supporters will be at many Iowa E15 stations over the next few weeks, talking with drivers about cleaner-burning E15, while many stations offer special E15 discounts."
IRFA's E15 consumer education program started September 18, with events at Murphy USA in Indianola, Iowa and Good & Quick in Nevada, Iowa. Murphy USA, located at 1502 N. Jefferson St. in Indianola, Iowa, offered E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles at a 75-cent-per-gallon discount to 87-octane E10 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Good & Quick, located at 519 Lincoln Highway in Nevada, Iowa, offered registered E15 for a 15-cent-per-gallon discount from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additionally, Cenex Ampride in Eagle Grove and Fort Dodge, Iowa, will host consumer education events on September 22. Other consumer education events will be announced in the near future.
Majority of Iowans want lower-cost, cleaner-burning E15
Iowa consumers showed their enthusiasm toward E15 in a recent poll conducted by the Tarrance Group, where respondents overwhelmingly supported the use of E15. When participants were asked if they would consider using E15 if they owned a 2001 and newer vehicle and it was cheaper than E10, an overwhelming 70% said yes. Additionally, 76% of respondents saying they'd purchase E15 also said they would drive out of their way to buy E15 to save between 5 and 10 cents per gallon, if their usual station did not offer E15.
"The poll results show what we expected: an overwhelming majority of Iowans want to take advantage of lower-cost, cleaner-burning E15," Norton added. "Typically, E15 is being sold in Iowa 5 to 10 cents cheaper than E10, and with more than three-quarters of Iowa E15 supporters willing to drive out of their way to save with E15, Iowa's fuel retailers should take notice."
Retailers can get financial assistance to install blender pumps
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association recently led a coalition of ethanol supporters in the passage of legislation this year to expand eligibility for the highly successful Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP), allowing retailers to now receive financial assistance to install or upgrade fuel dispensing equipment to offer cleaner-burning, lower-cost E15.
Since 2007, the Iowa RFIP has provided cost-share grants for the installation of blender pumps and E85 and biodiesel dispensing equipment, as well as bulk biodiesel terminal storage tanks. Qualifying projects are eligible for up to 70% of the installation costs, or a maximum of $50,000 per retail location. The IRFA works with retailers wishing to apply for RFIP grants, and ensures they comply with all federal and state E15 regulations.
For information about E15 and a list of stations, visit these websites
To learn more about the RFIP and to access the grant application, please visit iowaagriculture.gov/agMarketing/IRFIP.asp. Iowa leads the nation with 37 fueling stations offering E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles. For a complete list of Iowa's registered E15 stations, please click here. To learn more about E15, please click here.
For more details on the Tarrance Group poll, please click here.
Iowa is the nation's leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing more than 3.8 billion gallons annually, including 22 million gallons of annual cellulosic ethanol production capacity and one cellulosic ethanol facility currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually. IRFA was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For more information visit the website at IowaRFA.org.