E15 gasoline remains crucial to ethanol 'road map to success': Growth Energy CEO

Omaha (Platts)--12 Jun 2018 1154 am EDT/1554 GMT

The push for gasoline blended with 15% ethanol, E15, to receive a 1 psi RVP waiver to allow its sale year-round remains the top priority for ethanol industry group Growth Energy, said the group's CEO, Emily Skor, at an industry event Tuesday.

Allowing the higher ethanol blend's sale year-round could increase ethanol demand by 1.3 billion gallons within five years, Skor said in the keynote address at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in Omaha, Nebraska.

E15's sale is currently restricted from June until September due to its higher RVP.

Skor spoke about the push for the E15 waiver while laying out what the association sees as the industry's biggest goals and obstacles in the coming year.

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"The battles ahead are tougher and higher stakes," said Skor. "The road ahead is littered with roadblocks and obstacles that could take us off course if we don't stick together."

Opposition to the fuel from oil industry interests remains a significant hurdle.

"As our share of the gas tank grows, someone else's must shrink," said Skor.

Skor also highlighted efforts to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard as an ongoing challenge to the ethanol industry.

Senator Ted Cruz over the past several months has introduced several plans to lower biofuels blending costs, including an outright 10-cent cap on Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices.

Skor also called out plans to allow RINs attached to exported ethanol to be separated and used for compliance or trade as "a shamelessly illegal scheme."

But Skor's view of the ethanol industry's future was bright, saying that support in Congress as well as from producers in the Midwest speaks directly to President Trump's priorities of global energy dominance help for blue-collar workers.

"We secured a landmark victory," she said, referring to last week's apparent failure of a discussed plan to grant an E15 waiver in exchange for allowing exported gallons of biofuel to generate RINs.

The plan had been blasted by biofuels groups as a path to demand destruction for ethanol. But the work is not done, Skor added. Ongoing efforts to curtail the US Environmental Protection Agency's small refinery waivers remains a goal in the coming months.

"We rallied congressional leaders to combat mischief at the EPA," said Skor. "This is demand destruction and it must stop."

--Josh Pedrick,
--Edited by Jennifer Pedrick,

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