Governor J.B. Pritzker announced today that his administration is using the temporary waiver by the U.S. EPA to allow the sale of high volatility gasoline to be sold through September 15th in response to the Whiting, Indiana BP refinery fire.
The waiver also means that Illinois corn farmers will provide the needed fuel through their ethanol production, which is a lower emission alternative to gasoline produced without ethanol. President of the Illinois Corn Growers Association Marty Marr says the waiver will add fuel security to Illinois and the Midwest and stabilize grain markets: “We can allow the infrastructure that’s already here in the biofuel industry – ethanol, soy diesel, and such – It’s going to really help to support our grain markets, but it’s also going to add to our fuel security. It’s just really proof-positive that this transitional period of maybe going to EVs is maybe going to take longer than everyone thinks it is. Nobody is opposed to EVs, but I do think it’s going to be combustible engines here for quite some time. Having that option of a good strong industry where biofuels can make that contributions back into the oil companies’ supply, so to speak, ought to make it still a little bit more secure in that area and know that we have other options.”
Marr says that Fall corn harvest is looking good for both size and prices in Illinois: “We’ve got a big crop coming on. Prices are good right now. I think that they know that they are going to have a resource to go to in terms of a decent harvest corn to help supply the ethanol markets. It’s just another example of having this resource here in the Midwest and throughout the Corn States to help fill this need in the fuel industry. It’s comforting to know that they are equipped and ready to go to produce these fuels. It’s at a lesser cost than regular gasoline, and it’s a clean oxygenate. The best part, too, is it’s an environmental win.”
The Whiting BP facility produces 430,000 barrels-per-day and provides fuel to neighboring states. Marr says by having E-15 stay on the market it will help lobby the federal government to keep it as a permanent fuel option. Marr believes E-15 will be a bridge from gasoline to electric vehicles.
Currently, Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has introduced legislation to make E-15 a permanent fuel at the pump across the country. The bill has received support from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth among others.
Marr says it has also opened up conversations for using ethanol as a possible future use for power plants as the country continues its switch to greener energy sources.