Motorists deserve choices at the pump.
Today, petroleum has a de facto mandate at American gas stations. Instead of the oil industry or the government making the decision about what fuel to put in your vehicle, the consumer should have the right to choose. Three important steps toward consumer fuel choice:
1) Approving E15. Since the 1970s, the federal government has capped the amount of ethanol per gallon of gasoline to just 10 percent, an E10 blend. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently approved up to E15 (a 15% ethanol blend) for use in 2001 and newer model-year vehicles. If E15 or higher blends could be approved for all vehicles, it would give motorists another choice at the pump and would allow ethanol production to expand beyond the regulatory block of the "E10 Blend Wall."
2) Blender pumps. Blender pumps allow gas station owners to offer their customers a wide variety of fuel choices in the same space as a reulgar pump. Commonly offered blends include E10, E20, E30, and E85. Customers benefit by having more renewable fuel choices at the pump, and station owners benefit by having equipment in place to dispnese a wide range of fuels and by being ready for any future fuel regulation changes.
3) Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). FFVs can operate on any blend of gasoline and ethanol from straight unleaded up to E85 (85% ethanol 15% gasoline). Making a new vehicle flex-fuel capable costs an auto manufacturer very little, and if more FFVs were on the road, motorists would have the freedom to choose the most affordable and most reliable blend for their vehicles.
We support S. 1627, Consumer Fuels and Vehicles Choice Act.
In 2010, U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand the number of FFVs and blender pumps. S. 1627, the Consumer Fuels and Vehicles Choice Act, would:
- Increase the number of FFVs available to American motorists by requiring 50% of all vehicles manufactured for sale in the U.S. to be FFVs by 2011, increasing to 90% of vehicles by 2013.
- Help major fuel distributors install blender pumps, authorizing grants of up to 50% of the cost of installing blender pumps, tanks, and other infrastructure needed to increase consumer access to renewable fuel.
Even if the EPA approves E15, it will only be a temporary measure and soon the U.S. will face another "blend wall" like the E10 Blend Wall being faced today, plus more lengthy conversations about vehicle and equipment compatibility. But, if blender pumps and FFVs became the rule rather than the exception, the vehicles and equipment would be in place for whatever blend of fuel the motorists choose to use. Then we will have achieved true consumer fuel choice.
- An editorial on fuel choice by American Coalition for Ethanol president Lars Herseth
- What is a blender pump?
- More background on blender pumps, including a map showing all current U.S. locations
- What is the E10 blend wall?
Please feel free to contact the American Coalition for Ethanol staff with any additional questions: Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President (firstname.lastname@example.org); Ron Lamberty, Vice President / Market Development (email@example.com); Kristin Brekke, Communications Director (firstname.lastname@example.org); all at phone number (605) 334-3381.