Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Sarah Delbecq praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during a public hearing on March 29 for advocating Reid vapor pressure (RVP) parity for E15, a blended fuel with 15 percent ethanol, allowing its year-round sale.
The hearing, near Ann Arbor, Mich., focused on an EPA proposal that provides reforms for the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market and extends an evaporative emissions limit waiver to E15 that was originally only granted to E10 fuels under the Clean Air Act of 1992.
The fifth-largest U.S. producer of ethanol, Indiana pumps out nearly 1.3 billion gallons per year. The state generates 8 percent of the total U.S. ethanol output. Indiana’s production will go up as the state’s 15th ethanol plant goes online in early 2020. These ethanol plants consume nearly 47 percent of Indiana’s total corn crop – more than 460 million bushels. Corn growers who work within 30 miles of an ethanol factory realize an 18-23 cent premium per bushel on corn prices.
“As agriculture sits squarely in the worst farm recession in decades,” testified Delbecq, “with farm income well below half of what it was only four years ago and trade relationships in disarray, the importance of the certainty offered by domestic demand from uses like ethanol is critical to the stability and longevity of agriculture and rural America.”
By increasing corn demand, this rule’s adoption will boost the economic outlook of Hoosier corn growers. Giving the 1,700 U.S. retailers who market E15 the ability to sell the fuel year-round will add more than 7 million bushels of demand for corn.
While ICGA supports the RVP components of the proposed rule, Delbecq expressed concern on its RIN reform portions, emphasizing that the final rule must not create any new challenges or obstacles for retailers, refineries or ethanol plants to blend ethanol. Moreover, the final rule must not allow any exceptions for refiners who chose not to blend ethanol in accordance with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). And, finally, Delbecq stressed that the final rule must be completed prior to June 1, the last day that E15 can legally be sold without the rule change.
“This rule elevates Hoosier farmers toward a level playing field for ethanol to fairly compete in the marketplace with a better-preforming fuel, driven by consumer preference while simultaneously increasing domestic corn demand,” Delbecq said.
Retailers typically offer E15 for 5-10 cents less per gallon than other fuel options. Any U.S. cars manufactured since 2001 can safely use E15. Retailers make E15 by blending regular E10 with E85 at the pump. Compared to regular, unleaded 87 octane gasoline, E15 delivers higher octane at 88.4, improving gas mileage and aiding the environment with fewer emissions.
To hear all of Delbecq’s testimony, go online to https://youtu.be/IVE3lG4yTVk?t=6929.
Source: Indiana Corn Growers Association