Fall is a great time to get out and see Iowa, maybe the best time. You can take in the changing fall colors, visit a pumpkin patch and bring home some fresh-made apple cider. Better still, after a three-month hiatus, most of us can now legally fill our tanks with E15 as we hit the highway.
E15 is a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, or 5 percent more ethanol than normal E10 fuels. E15 is approved for all vehicles built in 2001 or later, and it’s a great deal for drivers. It’s better for the environment, it’s cheaper at the pump and it runs great. For Iowa drivers, it’s better still. Because we live in the country’s leading producer of ethanol and other biofuels, using E15 boosts our state’s economy.
Finding E15 is easy. More than 160 retailers around Iowa offer it, including many outlets of Kum & Go, Casey’s and Kwik Star. Click here to find an E15 retailer near you.
What is not so easy is figuring out why Americans can’t buy the better fuel year-round. For reasons that are hard to unravel, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlaws using E15 in most vehicles from June 1 to Sept. 15, basically the heart of the summer driving season.
Biofuel advocates and farmers call the restrictions senseless and are pushing the agency to end them. Even President Donald Trump, speaking last summer in Iowa, said it was time for E15 restrictions to go.
But the EPA has yet to budge. Many are starting to wonder whether the agency is listening a little too closely to oil refiners worried that, once consumers realize the value of E15, they won’t go back to their old fuel choices.
Farmers and ag-state lawmakers vow to keep up the pressure on EPA to ditch the E15 restrictions and, if commonsense prevails, the fuel will be available year-round in 2019. In the meantime, we can all vote at our local gas station by pumping up sales of E15.
By Dirck Steimel. Dirck is new services manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau and editor of the Spokesman.