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Indiana governor urged to veto anti-E15 bill

Photo courtesy of Growth Energy E15 ethanol gas pump_RoyalFarms-ProtecFuel 014.jpg
SB 303 seeks to limit sales of E15 by mandating warning labels on fuel pumps while other states look to mandate E15 use.  

Growth Energy sent a letter to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb urging him to veto SB 303, legislation intended to destroy demand for E15, a fuel blend with 15% ethanol, the ethanol industry group explains.

“Make no mistake, SB 303 was designed to stall new competition at the fuel pump and prevent more consumers from saving three to 10 cents per gallon on a lower-carbon, higher-octane fuel blend,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “In the wake of COVID-19, the last thing Indiana’s economy needs is an assault on ethanol producers and our farm suppliers across the entire state. If the governor allows this anti-E15 bill to become law, Indiana farm families are going to be reminded of it every time they fill up at the pump.”

Ethanol production supports 23,800 Hoosier jobs and contributes $2.2 billion annually to the state’s economy, Growth Energy notes. “By chilling demand for E15, SB 303 risks sacrificing one of the state’s most promising opportunities to lead the way on clean energy and agricultural growth,” the letter adds.

According to the letter, SB 303 seeks to limit sales of E15, a 15% ethanol fuel blend, “by mandating unnecessary warning labels on E15 fuel dispensers that serve only to confuse consumers and add completely unnecessary redundancy to already burdensome federal labeling requirements. This legislation also muddies key regulations in a manipulative attempt to obstruct additional retailers from offering E15.”

This legislation also muddies key regulations in a manipulative attempt to obstruct additional retailers from offering E15, Growth Energy states. “By adding a needless label that conflicts with language already on federally required stickers, SB 303 directly threatens new markets key to revitalizing income for Hoosier farmers,” Skor writes.

Currently, E15 is offered at more than 2,300 retail locations across 30 states, including Indiana. Consumers have already driven more than 20 billion miles using this higher-octane, low-carbon alternative made with Indiana energy – a testament to its success at the pump. E15 continues to grow in popularity in markets where it’s already available, in part because it saves motorists three to 10 cents on every gallon.

“SB 303 would chill that progress. It represents a direct assault on farmers and imposes a needless burden on consumers and the broader Hoosier economy,” Skor writes.

E15 was approved by the EPA in 2011 for all light-duty vehicles Model Year 2001 and newer and all Flex Fuel vehicles. Since then, Americans have driven more than 20 billion miles on E15. Today, the nation’s 245 million E15-compatible cars, trucks and SUVs represent more than 97% of vehicle miles traveled. Most automakers – including all of the Big Three – now explicitly warranty E15 for all new liquid fuel vehicle models.

E15 mandate

Other states including Minnesota are looking to mandate a statewide shift to E15. A new economic analysis conducted by Agriculture and Biofuels Consulting examined the economic impact of expanding E15 statewide in 12 states across the Midwest that represent 88% of the country’s ethanol production and are responsible for nearly a quarter of U.S. motor gasoline use.

“E15 is the single biggest opportunity to grow the rural economy, increase fuel savings and immediately replace oil with more homegrown renewable energy,” says Joshua Shields, senior vice president of government affairs and communications at POET. “Family farmers and fuel consumers have the most to gain by shifting to E15, but there are massive economic benefits across the board, especially in America’s Heartland where biofuels are made.”

The report shows that full statewide adoption of E15 across Minnesota would add:

  • $313.1 million in GDP to the state’s economy
  • 43 million bushels of new grain demand with a farm gate value of $140.2 million
  • $102.6 million to household income statewide
  • $27.6 million to state and local tax revenues

“Shifting to E15 is without question the fastest way to boost fuel savings and cut emissions from the most vehicles. That’s why so many states are looking at ways to ensure greater access to E15 at the pump. It’s one of the few solutions that can provide widespread benefits to an entire state, in both rural and urban communities,” says Shields.

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