WASHINGTON, September 20, 2017 - Wanted: More retailers selling E15.
That was a large part of the message delivered by Ron Lamberty, senior vice president with the American Coalition for Ethanol, during the organization’s recent webinar series. The webinar covered the organization’s market development work and highlighted legislative and policy priorities that can make a difference in marketing higher ethanol blends.
Lamberty discussed legislative and policy priorities, including an update on Renewable Fuel Standard-related issues and relief from Reid vapor pressure (RVP) restrictions. The webinar also covered developing markets for higher ethanol blends. Attendees learned about how they might assist retailers wanting to start offering higher ethanol blends and received an update on flex-fuel gas station projects. ACE also conducted a tour of resources on ACE's FlexFuelForward.com and Retailer Roadmap websites.
“The strategy behind our FlexFuelForward.com website is that fuel marketers trust information they get from other marketers like themselves,” Lamberty said. “This matches what we have seen on our site: three of the most viewed pages are our featured retailers addressing common questions and concerns of other retailers.”
Lamberty added that the retailers he’s spoken with want others to start selling E15. “The more E15 retailers people see across the U.S., the more comfortable consumers become with the product and the more likely they’ll use it at whatever station they visit offering the fuel,” he said.
He said retailers also want a variety of barriers to offering higher blends addressed, including regulatory burdens, consistent identification of fuel blends, and RVP relief.
The webinar walked through ACE’s FlexFuelForward.com resources that retailers can utilize to learn more about what it would take to overcome these obstacles and profitably offer higher ethanol blends to their customers. Lamberty pointed out that the site makes the business case for adding E15 in place of premium or diesel.
“Whether it’s a switch of products in the tank or a new installation, the math favors E15 over either of those fuels,” Lamberty said. “Almost 90 percent of the market can use E15, and while marketers consider premium or diesel, our website reminds them E15 generally costs less than E10 ‘regular’ fuel, while those other fuels cost more.”
In a news release, ACE also reminded retailers that they can now resume offering E15 to drivers of all gasoline-powered 2001 and newer passenger vehicles with the low-RVP season ending Sept. 15. ACE says the industry is as close as it’s ever been to getting RVP relief for E15 and higher blends thanks to bipartisan leadership in Congress and a new way of thinking at EPA. The organization says it hopes this is the last time it needs to remind retailers of the end of the RVP restriction. “We’re hopeful with the end of the low-RVP season upon us, we can get some traction on this issue,” Lamberty said in the release. The organization noted that EPA chief Scott Pruitt is examining legal options for RVP, and pledged to continue pressing senators to explore ways to enact RVP legislation (S. 517 and H.R. 1311).
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