The executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says Iowa is “good to go” for E15 sales following a federal EPA announcement that the final regulatory hurdle has been cleared.
But Monte Shaw says while the pathway to E15 sales is open, the oil industry has erected another barrier by refusing to make the proper gasoline blendstock available.
“Due to a quirk in the federal fuel regulations, the gasoline you blend to create E10 during the summer is different from the gasoline that is required to blend E15 in the summer—and the oil industry is only sending the blendstock for E10 up the pipeline,” Shaw explains.
“So without the proper blendstock, we cannot actually create an E15 blend that meets the federal fuel regulations.”
Shaw is hopeful the situation will correct itself once that summer blendstock rule ends on September 15th and more retailers start demanding E15 blendstock from their suppliers.
“We have retailers here in Iowa that would be selling E15 today to consumers—probably, based on the current market economics, five to ten cents a gallon lower than E10—which is already a dime lower than E-zero,” Shaw says, “and they’d be doing that today if they could get E15 out of the local terminal.
“But the big oil companies aren’t putting the right blendstock up the pipeline—so it’s not setting in the terminal—and they can’t pull the product.”