I’ll start this post off with a quick recap:

  • The US corn-based ethanol industry is currently arbitrarily capped at 15 billon gallons.  This is interesting since I think most of us think domestic renewable fuel is a good idea.
  • The US corn-based ethanol industry sought an increase in the amount of ethanol allowed per gallon of gasoline.  We typically call this “higher blends” and the EPA approved a higher blend of E15 for SOME cars back in October.
  • The EPA is now considering what sort of label to stick on the E15 pump so that consumers understand that they are getting E15 instead of E10, E85, or diesel.

When the option for public comment on the proposed E15 label opened up, Illinois Corn Growers Association was right in line to offer our thoughts on the proposal.  If you’d like to read the comments in their entirety, you can download them here.

But to summarize, ICGA first and foremost believes the label to be unnecessarily alarming and misleading.  There is no “CAUTION!” label or skull and crossbones on diesel pumps, yet misfueling your car with diesel instead of E10 or E15 would have extremely more harmful effects than a misfueling with E15 when you intended E10.  We are proposing an informational label instead of a fear tactic.

We are also suggesting that the size, color, shape, and exact location of the label be flexible.  Illinois Corn recognizes that for higher blends of ethanol to work, the regulations need to be flexible so that petroleum marketers are not disadvantaged.  We also suggest that the US EPA and the Federal Trade Commission coordinate a label so that two versions aren’t floating around to make things more confusing than they already are.

Interestingly enough, many of the industries affected by the limited approval of E15 agree with us.  I recently attended a meeting of the Illinois Petroleum Council where we discussed the US EPA’s limited approval, the burdens it places on petroleum marketers and engine manufacturers, and the unnecessarily scary label.

Funny how the pursuit of an agenda over science can bring industries together.

Dave Loos
ICGA/ICMB Ethanol Guru


  1. Who’s kidding who? There will never be any stand alone E15 pumps before the blending wall is hit by early 2012. The EPA has to change its regulations, ASTM has to define standards for E15 and many states have to change their laws to even allow E15 to be sold. There are three lawsuits against E15 in progress and the gasoline producers and gas stations are not going to accept the liability for damage caused by E15 whether the car is properly fueled or mis-fueled. The only E15 ever sold will be from a blender pump into flex-fuel cars and you don’t need a label for that. This is much ado about nothing.

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