Back in early October, President Trump announced that year-round sales of E15 would move forward. As we ring in 2019, corn growers across Indiana are hopeful that the estimations on what the impact could be from year-round E15 from organizations like Growth Energy are true.
CEO Emily Skor said, “Here’s the bottom line in terms of what this can deliver for the industry. Within 5 years we project 1.3 billion gallons of new ethanol demand as a result of this policy change. That is a huge shot in the arm for the ethanol producers and I know that retailers have been waiting for this news so that they can start building out the infrastructure and make their business plans to offer this fuel year-round.”
Skor says that progress is already being made to get more retailers on board with carrying E15, but there’s no way of knowing how quickly it might happen.
“Within a week of the president’s announcement, two major retailers announced that they’re adding in E15 to their offerings. Casey’s, which is in 11 states in the Midwest, and Cumberland Farms, which is a new territory in the Northeast. In terms of the speed of the adoption rate, hard for me to put a number on that. I can tell you we’re getting more phone calls from retailers. Right now, we’re working with 13 of the top 20 independent retailers.”
Skor adds that some retailers are waiting for the official word that the summertime driving restriction has been lifted by the EPA.
“White House has promised that this will be lifted in time for next summer driving season, June 1. So, some retailers are going to start their business planning right now and retooling their offerings. Some may wait until that rule is final and they’ve got that that final stamp there. What you will see is we’ve got increased momentum across the board and the appetite for them to offer a product that’s great for their business because they’re attracting customers away from the competition.”
Will corn growers see the demand growth that Growth Energy and other ethanol organizations have predicted beginning in 2019, or will the EPA drag its feet until the last minute so retailers can’t make their business plans in time? My guess would be the latter, but we can hope for the former.