It has been over a year since the EPA approved the blending of up to 15% ethanol into our nation’s fuel supply, but finding the fuel remains almost impossible. Nationwide there are 40 stations in 9 states that are selling E-15 to motorists, Indiana is not one of those states. “Right now, we have no stations offering E-15 in Indiana,” said Roz Leeck, Biofuels Director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.
The problem is nobody want to be the first to put in an E-15 pump said Leeck, “There are a lot of people who are considering the idea and monitoring what is happening our west and keeping their eye on the station around the corner to see if they take the plunge.” Monte Shaw, with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, told HAT that has been the pattern in his state, “Nobody wants to be first but they don’t want to be last either.” He said, typically, it is the independent dealers that are the first to start offering E-15 and then the chains have to follow.
Currently, almost all gasoline sold is blended with 10% ethanol. The extra 5% blend is safe for use in all cars newer than 2001 and, since ethanol is cheaper that oil, E-15 will actual lower the price of gas. Leeck says it will be economics what will drive both dealer and consumer acceptance of E-15 in the end, “Consumers will see the lower price of E-15 and the economics will help on the dealer side because it will help stations to improve their bottom lines as well.”
The oil industry, afraid of losing market share to E-15, is running a smear campaign against E-15. Leeck says that has some consumers confused, “There are a lot of voices in the marketplace, and some consumers are confused about who to believe.” She said, as the fuel enters the Indiana marketplace, corn growers will work to help educate consumers about the benefits of E-15. Currently Indiana has 14 blender bumps that allow motorists to choose ethanol blends from E-10 up to E-85.