NASCAR Races 6 Million Miles on E15

On Sunday, July 20, 2014 NASCAR drivers raced at the Brickyard in Indianapolis, Indiana and hit a historic milestone – 6 million miles raced using Sunoco Green E15. The feat was three years in the making and took place at one of the most famous racetracks in the world – Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

In 2011, NASCAR and American Ethanol partnered to bring E15 to the sport. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, Sunoco Green E15 has fueled every car and every truck in each of NASCAR’s national race series. According to NASCAR, the introduction of Sunoco Green E15 has been a pivotal part of the NASCAR Green initiative, and has successfully increased horsepower and decreased emissions for the sport.

NASCAR 6 Million Miles on E15Brian France, CEO of NASCAR, released a statement in response to the 6 million mile-milestone saying, “NASCAR conducted an exhaustive analysis before making the seamless transition to Sunoco Green E15, a race fuel blended with 15 percent American Ethanol. As we eclipse six million tough competition miles across our three national series, we can definitively say this renewable fuel stands up to our rigorous racing conditions while significantly reducing our impact on the environment. We are proud to celebrate this milestone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway along with our partners at the National Corn Growers Association and Growth Energy.”

The 6 million mile-mark is especially significant because it mirrors the 6 million miles of testing conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy to initially approve E15 for all light duty cars and trucks, model year 2001 and newer.

“NASCAR validates what a great performance fuel [E15] is, said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “If you meet with the teams and talk with the owners – they’ve got increased horse power, they’ve got higher performance, and, as Richard [Childress] said, it’s cleaner.”

Through NASCAR, Buis said American Ethanol has proven that E15 is a high performance, low cost fuel option that is homegrown and better for our environment. It supports American jobs that will never be outsourced, bolsters rural economies and enhances our nation’s energy and national security.

Listen to the press conference here: NASCAR Races 6 Million Miles on E15

*Special thanks to Meghan Grebner with Brownfield Ag News for providing audio and photo from the press conference.

Twin Cedars FFA Raises Money for Ethanol Infrastructure

Josh Lopez is a sophomore at Twin Cedars high school (Bussey, Iowa) and he is already an ethanol advocate. During the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen, Josh who is a member of FFA, along with several other FFA members from his high school, walked around Iowa Speedway talking to NASCAR fans about the benefits of ethanol. But they didn’t stop there.

Josh LopezJosh and his team also raised money for ethanol infrastructure and Syngenta matched the funds raised – dollar-for-dollar- and donated the money plus the $1 per acre funds to Growth Energy. The $1 per acre program is one that donates $1 dollar per acre of Engoen corn grown to the renewable fuels industry. In total, more than $108K was donated this year.

I asked Josh why he came out to the races to talk about ethanol. “I love racing and our school has a strong agricultural program,” so he said it was a good fit. I also asked him what he thought about ethanol and he said his dad works for Syngenta so he grew up knowing that ethanol is better for the environment, a lot cheaper and reduces America’s need for foreign oil.

Josh said the most common question he is asked is what is ethanol? He noted that after talking with most consumers, and mentioning the NASCAR drivers are racing on the same E15 fuel that consumers can use, most of them become excited about ethanol.

Listen to my interview with Josh Lopez here: Josh Lopez interview

Visit the 2014 American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen photo album.


#51 Eric Jones Wins American Ethanol 200

Erik Jones No 51 winner of 2014 American Ethanol 200 presented by SyngentaErik Jones driver of the No. 51 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports held off Brad Keselowski Racing’s Ryan Blaney for the win of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 200 sponsored by Enogen.

Jones said during Victory Lane, “Glad we could get out and command the race and bring it home.” Jones led 131 of the 200 laps dominating the 3/4 mile track and lapping several other drivers. This is his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of the season.

Jones was given the award and congratulated for his win in Victory Lane by David Witherspoon, head of renewable fuels at Syngenta. All the drivers in the series compete with Sunoco’s green E15 racing fuel – the same E15 blend of ethanol that consumers with cars manufactured after 2001 and newer can use. To date, NASCAR has raced more than 6 million miles with E15.


Visit the 2014 American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen photo album.

DF Cast: Finding Ways to Increase Ethanol Blends

While the ethanol industry awaits the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision on the amount of ethanol to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply, ethanol producers are looking at other ways to make sure the green fuel increases its blend amounts.

In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we hear from Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, Dean Drake with the consulting company the Defour Group, Scott Zaremba, president of Zarco Incorporated, and Ken Parrent, the ethanol director for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, as they give their thoughts on how consumer demand will be a bigger driver for higher ethanol blends after attending an Indiana Corn Growers Association ethanol forum that focused on marketing mid-level ethanol blends and ran following the recent 2014 Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Indianapolis.

Domestic Fuel Cast - Increasing Ethanol Blends

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Murphy USA Offering E15, E85 in Indianola, IA

Murphy USA is now offering E15 and E85 in Indianola, Iowa location. This station is the first one to begin selling the ethanol fuel blends in Iowa, with six more locations coming online over the next few months. By the end of the summer, E15 and E85 will be available at Murphy USA locations in Clinton, Davenport, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Newton, and Sioux City, Iowa. Murphy USA made a major announcement several months ago that it would begin offering E15 and higher level ethanol blends to consumers at its retail stations throughout the country.

logo-murphy-usa“We are very proud Murphy USA chose to expand its offerings of cleaner-burning ethanol blends in Iowa,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. “There is strong collaboration in Iowa for servicing the E15 market, making it an ideal place to offer E15 at multiple locations. When the conversion is complete, motorists in seven large Iowa cities will have easy access to lower-cost, more locally-produced ethanol blends.”

In accordance with summertime fuel regulations, E15 will only be sold to flex-fuel vehicles throughout the summer driving season at Murphy USA locations. In mid-September, E15 will be available to all consumers driving 2001 and or newer vehicle. In addition, Iowa motorists will soon have greater access to biodiesel at Murphy USA’s Clinton, Davenport, Fort Dodge, Mason City, and Sioux City locations.

“We’re happy to see a major retailer like Murphy USA move their E15 and E85 efforts into Iowa,” added Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Director of Market Development Robert White. “This should demonstrate to others that the business case for these fuels exists, and that more chains will follow Murphy USA’s lead.”

The Murphy USA Indianola fueling site is located at 1502 N. Jefferson Street. Of Murphy USA’s 1,200 stations in 23 states, the Indianola location will be the second Murphy USA station to offer E15, and the third Murphy USA station to offer E85. In addition to higher ethanol blends, Murphy USA’s Iowa locations will offer three grades of gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol.

Missouri Corn: Market Instability Reinforces Need for Ethanol

With the continued turmoil in Iraq causing instability in worldwide oil markets, Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is calling for increased ethanol access in the marketplace. Ethanol is trading more than a dollar lower than conventional gasoline according to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The cost savings from blending competitively priced ethanol are being kept from consumers,” said MCGA CEO Gary Marshall. “To pay upwards of $3.50 or $4 per gallon when the top five 1205379-Moil companies profited a combined 93 billion dollars is unacceptable. Drivers are sick and tired of shelling out an arm and a leg for gas – and they have every right to be.”

Missouri drivers are currently using 10 percent ethanol (E10) in most gasoline sold across the state. Recently E15 (15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline) was approved for use in the state in vehicles 2001 and newer. However, noted MCGA, the fuel blendstock provided by oil refineries during summer months limits blending higher than 10 percent ethanol, keeping customers from the price benefit of higher ethanol blends.

“The refusal by oil companies and refineries to provide a quality, cost-effective fuel when consumers are facing increasing costs at the pump is an outrage,” said Marshall. “Drivers could see immediate savings from E15, yet fuel marketers’ hands are tied until the summer regulation is lifted and winter blendstock is reintroduced this fall.”

While prices at the pump have reached their highest levels since 2008, they would be even higher without the inclusion of ethanol to the country’s fuel supply said MCGA. Last year alone, U.S. ethanol production displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 462 million barrels of imported crude oil, which is equivalent to that imported annually from Venezuela and Iraq combined.

“The latest energy issues in Iraq are a stark reminder why ethanol is important. As a country, we need to be looking at a long-term energy plan and not be held hostage any time militants take over a refinery in a foreign land,” concluded Marshall.

Summer Means No E15

It’s summer vacation time for 15% ethanol blends but not by choice.

E15 sign“The Environmental Protection Agency’s outdated interpretation of Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations is preventing the sale of E15 in most of the country during the busy summer driving season, adding billions to travelers’ fuel costs,” said American Coalition for Ethanol senior vice president Ron Lamberty. By unnecessarily limiting the sale of E15 to only flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) owners from June 1 to September 15
in areas where most gasoline is used, Lamberty says EPA is effectively requiring drivers to purchase lower octane fuel for 5 to 40 cents.

Iowa leads the nation with 20 registered E15 stations and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Managing Director Lucy Norton says they have to shut down the pumps in the summertime. “If oil refiners chose to ship gasoline with the proper vapor pressure into our state, Iowa motorists could have expanded access to cleaner-burning, lower-cost E15 year-round, instead of it being temporarily restricted to only flex-fuel vehicles during the summer,” said Norton.

The Iowa legislature passed legislation to help ease costs Iowa retailers may incur when obtaining gasoline suitable for blending with 15 percent ethanol during the summer months. Under the legislation, Iowa’s E15 retailer tax credit to 10 cents from June 1 to September 15, up from the three cents it is the rest of the year.

“Ironically, E15 has a lower RVP than the fuel 95% of drivers are using, so EPA’s unwillingness to change a 25 year-old regulation effectively mandates higher evaporative emissions and higher prices during the busiest driving season of the year,” said Lamberty.

ACE Reminds Drivers that E15 is Fine for Most Cars

ACElogoSummer driving season kicked off this past weekend, and the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) took the opportunity to remind drivers that most vehicles can be filling up with the higher 15 percent blend of ethanol, E15. ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty says it could save them some money at the pump.

“Once the federal government gave the approval for E15 blends to be sold in retail stations, automakers started building cars designed and warrantied for E15 fuel. For the last two years nearly every new vehicle sold in the US is ‘‘E15 compatible,’’ under even the strictest definition of that term. Along with flex-fuel vehicles and Ford’s earlier switch to E15 according to sales data, about 50 million vehicles on the road today have warranties that include E15. And that number will grow by almost 15 million every year. While ACE continues to encourage drivers of cars and light trucks built in model year 2001 and newer – the vehicles EPA tested safe for E15 use – to try E15, no one can argue about the safety of E15 in this group of newer vehicles.”

ACE also pointed out that more states are passing laws that should lead to more stations offering E15 blends. The group also criticized AAA for being “a very effective pawn in Big Oil’s campaign to smear E15 and maintain the fuel monopoly that has doubled American drivers’ fuel expenditures over the past five years.” Lamberty called on AAA to step up and advocate on behalf of drivers and call for the higher blend.

Corn Growers Fight AAA Stance on Ethanol

aaa-cancelThe Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is fighting back at AAA for disparaging the state’s recent action allowing the retail sale of 15% ethanol blended gasoline (E15).

MCGA CEO Gary Marshall took AAA to task in a letter to the organization’s president and canceled his longtime membership following public statements misrepresenting the benefits of E15. A St. Louis Post Dispatch article following approval of E15 sales in Missouri quoted AAA as saying that “90 percent of the cars on the road are not approved by automakers to use the fuel. That could void warranties and cause engine damage.” That quote is from a November 2013 statement by AAA president Roger Darbelnet.

In his letter to Darbelnet, Marshall corrected that statement with the facts.

Approximately 80 percent of the vehicles on the road today are 2001 or newer and approved by the EPA to use the ethanol blend. Add to that, more than 60 percent of 2014 vehicles sold this year will be explicitly warranted and approved by the manufacturer to operate on E15. In terms of possible engine damage, E15 is sold in 12 other states with no issues reported. We are unaware of AAA’s Roadside Assistance program picking up a single driver stranded alongside the road due to an engine issue caused by E15.

Marshall informed Darbelnet that he is canceling his 33-year AAA membership because he refuses “to support an organization so clearly aligned with the oil industry.”

Iowa Gov Signs Biodiesel, Ethanol Measures into Law

irfa-poetIowa Governor Terry Branstad has signed into law measures seen as good for ethanol and biodiesel in his state, a move much welcomed in an area that is a major player in the renewable fuel market. Branstad was joined by other state dignitaries, as well as officials from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) and ethanol producer POET, which hosted the signing of Senate File 2344 at its Coon Rapids, Iowa refinery today. The new law extends the state’s biodiesel production tax credit and enhances the state’s E15 retailer tax credit.

“I’m proud to sign this renewable fuels bill that received such wide, bipartisan support from the entire Iowa legislature and promotes E15, biodiesel and bio-butanol” stated Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. “I have been a staunch supporter of protecting Iowa jobs and Iowa motorists’ access to cleaner, locally-produced renewable fuels, and this bill does exactly that.”

“Today is a great day for Iowa’s renewable fuels community,” stated IRFA Policy Director Grant Menke. “We commend Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, and the entire Iowa legislature for standing beside renewable fuels, protecting Iowa jobs, and safeguarding consumer access to low-cost, homegrown biofuels.”

“We are excited Gov. Branstad selected our facility to mark the officially signing of this important bill,” said Bill Howell, General Manager of POET Biorefining – Coon Rapids. “The state of Iowa continues to be very supportive of the biofuels industry and this bill is yet another example of that support. Here at POET, we look forward to continued expansion of E15 throughout the state and nation, which will allow consumers to enjoy additional options at the pump.”

The law also defines biobutanol as a renewable fuel option for Iowans.

Missouri to Allow E15 at the Gas Pumps

E15 signMissouri is the latest state to allow retailers to sell a 15 percent blend of ethanol, E15. This article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a dozen other states allow, but don’t require, the higher blends.

Biofuel trade groups and state corn growing associations say E15 is just another blend of fuel that gas stations can offer price-conscious motorists. Despite auto industry groups warning of the fuel’s impact on engines, the Environmental Protection Agency has approved it for use in vehicle models 2001 and newer.

“It’s bringing in another low-cost fuel to consumers,” said Bradley Schad, director of market development with the Missouri Corn Growers Association. “It’s actually helping drive the economy here in Missouri because we produce ethanol in Missouri.”

Petroleum groups are still pushing back on the new option, trying to say that vehicle engines will be ruined by the higher blend, but with 12 other states already approving the higher blend, even with the small number of stations selling E15, wouldn’t we be hearing about all these cars stranded by the sides of roads? So far, I’m not hearing those kinds of stories.

Ten New E15 Stations Open in Wisconsin

Ten new E15 stations have opened in Wisconsin. Vehicles manufactured after 2001 and flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) can fill up at the United Cooperative Cenex convenience stores located throughout Wisconsin: Beaver Dam, Baraboo, Hustisford, Iron Ridge, Pickett, Poynette, Reedsburg, Watertown, and Wyocena. The stations offer blender pumps that include additional mid-level ethanol blends: E30 and E85 for use in FFVs.

David Cramer, United Cooperative president and chief executive officer, noted, “Ethanol-blended fuels like E15 are better for the United Cooperative E15-E85 station in Wisconsinenvironment, originate from locally-grown corn, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. United Cooperative enjoys offering our customers multiple ethanol options at the pump and doing our part to support the American economy.”

With the addition of these 10 new stations, there are now 75 E15 stations in 12 states.

“United Cooperative understands the vital importance of choice in the transportation fuel market. The addition of blender pumps to these 10 stations give the people of Wisconsin access to E15, E30, and E85, all low-cost fuel options,” said Robert White, director of market development at the Renewable Fuels Association. “The expansion of E15 in Wisconsin is only the beginning as retailers continue to see the economic benefits of installing blender pumps and offering higher-level ethanol blends to their customers.”

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Farmers Co-op Breaks Ground on Renewable Fuels Station

Farmers Cooperative Company has broken ground on the future site of its new Mount Ayr, Iowa renewable fuels retail location. The station will offer consumers higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel including ethanol blends E10, E15 as a registered fuel, E30 and E85, as well as biodiesel blends B10, B20 and B99 for jobbers and special use customers.

Groundbreaking-Group.2“The price of [E10] in Iowa is 17-30 cents below gasoline, so the savings is even greater with higher ethanol blends,” Iowa Governor Terry Branstad told the audience at the groundbreaking ceremony. “I’ve told the EPA, if E15 is offered to give consumers a choice, they will choose cheaper renewable fuels.”

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey told attendees, “For this project, we have a great partnership with [Iowa State University] who will be conducting a study to find out why motorists choose the fuels they do. This is a great opportunity to convince others to make the same type of investment.”

Farmers Cooperative Company was selected to receive $125,000 in funding for the new site from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s “Fueling Our Future” program, administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS). In addition, Farmers Cooperative will receive $100,000 in funding from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program. Construction will begin later this year.

“We congratulate Farmers Cooperative Company on this great event to celebrate the groundbreaking on a true renewable fuels retail location that will provide consumers with greater access to clean, locally-produced ethanol and biodiesel,” added Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Managing Director Lucy Norton. “With the help of Gov. Branstad’s ‘Fueling Our Future’ program and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, Iowans will continue to benefit from fuel choice at locations like this one.”

DF Cast: Fuels America Fights Back with “Oil Rigged”

Backers of renewable fuels say when it comes to the fight against Big Oil, the fight is rigged… oil rigged.

Recently, Fuels America held a pair of news conferences. The first was to announce the launch of its “Oil Rigged” television and digital ad campaign and OilRigged.com, designed to “expose the many ways the oil industry is rigging the system to protect their profits and block the transition to clean, American renewable fuels.” In addition, Fuels America is backing up its claims with more than just talk, unveiling a new survey showing how renewable fuels have added significantly to the country’s economy, especially in rural areas.

In this edition of the Domestic Fuel Cast, we hear from Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president Bob Dinneen, Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Executive Vice President Brent Erickson, and Jon Doggett with the National Corn Growers Association, talking about how they want to rig the debate back to the facts.

Listen to what they had to say after they listened to ACE: Domestic Fuel Cast - Oil Rigged

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Iowa Gov. Branstad Expands “Fueling Our Future”

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s “Fueling Our Future” program has recognized two retailers for their innovative plans to increase accessibility to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends. Farmers Cooperative based in Mount Ayr, Iowa and Oak Street station based in Inwood, Iowa both received $125,000 to offset the cost of adding renewable fuel infrastructure for biodiesel and ethanol. In addition, he has committed to expanding the program.

I’ve long been an advocate for increasing consumer access to locally-produced, environmentally-friendly renewable fuels,” said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad during a press conference. “The two retailers receiving funding as part of the ‘Fueling Our Future’ program will provide Iowans with additional access to higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel, supporting Iowa products and jobs, while also improving air quality.”

The Farmer’s Cooperative station in Mount Ayr will offer E10, E15, and E30, E50 and E85 as well as B5, B10 and B20. “Based on the consumer response to higher levels of renewable fuels at our Creston location, Farmers Cooperative wants to add more blender pumps where they are needed,” said Farmers Cooperative Creston Location Manager Darin Schlapia. “Mount Ayr is the hub of Ringgold County and we want to capture that customer base by offering more American-made fuel options. We’re pooling the Coop members’ resources to drive profitability and offer more competitively priced fueling options not otherwise available.”

Oak Street Station received a grant for its new fueling site set to be built in the Northwest Iowa town of Inwood. The station will offer E10, E15, E30, and E85, as well as B5 year-round and B99.9 during the summer months for independent jobbers and special use customers such as tractor pullers.

Oak Street Station Accountant Lisa VanRegenmorter said, “At Oak Street Station, we have a passion for renewable fuels and want to help grow the industry. Putting in blender pumps and biodiesel will continue our support for biofuels, provide fuel choices for our customers, and supply customer data to support the state’s Fueling the Future initiative.”

The “Fueling Our Future” program is administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The purpose of the program is to gain better consumer information regarding fueling preferences, expand the use and availability of higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel, and provide a pathway to reduce particulate matter in Iowa.

Lucy Norton, Managing Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association applauds the program. “We commend Gov. Branstad for his unwavering support in making Iowa a model state for fuel choice and consumer access to clean-burning renewable fuels. With the help of Gov. Branstad, IDALS, and the Iowa DOT, Iowa is raising the bar to show the nation that higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel are the preferred fuels.”