RFA to DOE: Update Your E85 Data!

Today the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is calling on the Department of Energy (DOE) to accurately account for all stations selling E85. According to RFA, the DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center is missing a vast number of E85 stations – nearly 1,000- after comparing the list to the “crowd-sourced” website E85Prices.com that lists 3,449 retail locations offering E85.

RFANewlogo“The AFDC database is way off in its reporting of E85 stations, and this is negatively influencing discussions over the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending requirements. It isn’t just a handful of stations that are missing; we are talking about the exclusion of hundreds of stations nationwide. In fact, they missed 40 percent of the stations that are included in other databases! That’s simply unacceptable,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA.

In a letter sent to the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the RFA illustrates the central role of the database in crucial policy decisions, stating, “EPA’s mistaken belief that existing E85 refueling infrastructure is insufficient to distribute the 2014 RFS volumes specified in the statute is based in large part on information from the AFDC. As a result, the Agency wrongly proposed to reduce required renewable fuel blending volumes in 2014.”

Dinneen stressed the urgent need for updated, accurate information as the EPA decides the final 2014 RFS blending requirements. He noted, “Accurate data is the foundation of well informed decisions. The so-called ‘blend wall’ — the level at which oil companies claim they can no longer blend ethanol into gasoline — can be scaled through increased use of E85. Therefore, an accurate accounting of E85 stations distributing low-cost, renewable fuels is vital to informing the debate over RFS implementation.”

The letter concludes, “The correctness and completeness of the database has never been more important, as crucial policy and regulatory decisions are being informed by the information. Inadequate data leads to ill-informed policy decisions, which can have significant consequences for affected industries.

2 thoughts on “RFA to DOE: Update Your E85 Data!

  1. Areas covered by a DOE Clean Cities program are more likely to have up-to-date station information. It’s part of a Clean Cities coordinator’s job to update the AFDC.

    Keep in mind, however, that the number of stations offering E85 regularly waxes and wanes as grant programs begin and end, stations close or change hands, and E85 is available or not. In other words, the list with largest number of stations may not always be the most correct and up-to-date one.

    If you see a station missing from the list, you can enter the data via a pop-up form on the AFDC website. The DOE will verify the information before updating the database.

  2. Thanks, Bob… but there is more to it. RFA is not suggesting that the largest database is the greatest, we just want an accurate one. Our careful review has found hundreds of existing stations that do not appear on the AFDC database. They have been verified to exist and offer E85, and that they are not in the AFDC database. We have reported stations in the past that took months to appear, and there are still some that have yet to appear after years of offering E85. There are also less than 100 Clean Cities Coalitions, definitely have more areas to cover than just their area of responsibilities. Definitely not discounting the work of Clean Cities, but we need more than just the Coordinators reporting station changes, and we need more resources allocated overall to make changes in a timely matter. Too much is hanging in the balances based on outdated information.