Thursday, legislation was introduced by U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and David Vitter (R-La.) to block the introduction of E15. In unveiling the bill, the Senators said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had acted irresponsibly and predicted a negative impact on families and businesses should E15 be allowed into the marketplace. Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), took issue with statements and the bill itself.

“Clearly the motivation behind the legislation introduced by Senators Wicker and Vitter is fueled by emotion and loyalty to home state oil constituents. Now that ethanol represents 10 percent of the American fuel supply and growing, oil companies are panicked. They are fighting to preserve their monopoly, their unfair and outrageously expensive tax credits, and most of all, their record breaking profits. Ethanol is no longer a gnat nipping at their precious ankles. It is a threat to the oil-centric status quo. The RFA and the ethanol producers we represent would welcome a chance to meet with Senators Wicker and Vitter to explain the benefits of E15 and dispel myths and any lingering doubts.

“The facts are these: E15 is the most tested fuel in history with over six million test miles driven and no faults found. Expanded E15 use means healthier people and a cleaner environment. Ethanol displaces many of the toxins and carcinogens found in traditional gasoline while delivering benefits such as a 35 to 49 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Senators who represent Gulf states certainly don't need to be reminded of the environmental hazards of oil production. They, in particular, should appreciate a fuel alternative that is biodegradable and water-soluble.

“If improving conditions for families and businesses is indeed a primary concern then ethanol is the answer, not the problem. Ethanol biorefineries are at their heart small businesses employing on average 30 to 50 people while creating opportunities for other local small businesses in surrounding communities. In 2012, the ethanol industry created and supported 380,000 jobs across this country. Jobs that can’t be outsourced. And as the next generation of ethanol comes online, additional jobs are being in created outside the Midwest in states like Mississippi.” Dinneen continued, “On the finer point of families, ethanol is providing the fuel choice consumers desire while also helping them save money. Last year ethanol delivered a $1.09 per gallon savings, which translates into a meaningful annual savings of $1,200 per average American household.”

Dinneen concluded, “As for AAA and concerns about car warranties, one has to wonder why the alarm over a handful of gas stations offering E15 in the Midwest when hundreds of gas stations in numerous mountain states are offering sub-octane fuel, which knowingly violates vehicle warranties and has been proven by the auto industry to cause vehicle failures, is allowed to continue. Where is the federal legislation to protect American drivers from sub-standard gasoline? What role do oil companies and their powerful political dollars play in supporting and killing legislation, which impacts their well-lined pockets? Big Oil vs. Small Town Biofuels, the David and Goliath story never gets old. In today’s version, it is E15 that pains the giant.”