By Timothy J. Rudnicki, Esq
A growing number of consumers are coming to expect E15 at all their favorite retail fueling stations and have concerns when they can’t find E15. Generally, those concerns are called into the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association with the callers prefacing their questions like this: I have been using E15 for the last six months because I am saving money at the pump, I know the higher octane is good for my engine, I feel good about using a renewable fuel, but what do I do if I can’t find E15?
We appreciate your inquiries. The question about “what to do when E15 is not available” signals to us that consumers really do care about the type of fuel they use in their vehicles. To the questioners, we now have two answers for you. First, if you’ve been using E15 for your 2001 or newer vehicle but can’t find it near you, ask your neighborhood retailer to carry E15. The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association can help these retailers, wherever they are in Minnesota, learn about E15 and assist them in taking the necessary steps to begin dispensing it.
Second, to all those who would like to see even greater access to and availability of E15, call your legislators and ask them to support the E15 Dispenser bill which has been introduced in both houses of Minnesota's state legislature (Senate File 1912 and House File 1904). This bill can pave the way for E15 to be made widely available throughout Minnesota.
Among the key components of the bill is to address issues currently faced by retailers interested in offering E15. As it stands, there is an information void with regards to consistent, reliable and accurate technical information regarding fuel storage and dispensing systems when it concerns E15. Moreover, in some cases, there are retailers that only need to make a few simple changes to their fuel dispenser to offer E15. The E15 Dispenser Bill will streamline the process and make it easier for retailers to carry E15.
Some 300, or 10 percent, of fuel retailers in the state will be partnered with under the first phase of the E15 Dispenser bill and once these stations begin offering E15, we will make a significant step towards reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions.
When E15 becomes the new regular fuel in Minnesota, annual CO2 equivalent emissions will be reduced by 358,000 metric tons (equivalent to removing 75,368 passenger vehicles form Minnesota's roads for a year). Moreover, under the E15 Dispenser bill, consumers stand to save between $7.6 million to $10.9 million at the pump as E15 is generally priced 7 to 10 cents lower than regular unleaded gasoline.