The scare tactics used against unleaded 88 (E15) by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and their proxies are downright…well…scary. They say, do, or use almost anything to vilify the Renewable Fuel Standard and biofuels–particularly fuel ethanol‒in order to maintain a stranglehold monopoly on the U.S. fuel market.
Yes, we get it. The oil industry doesn’t want to give up that monopoly nor allow access to the century-long control of the nation’s fuel supply. And the renewable folks, such as Minnesota-based ethanol producers and farmer-owned cooperatives, keep fighting to offer us their high-octane, non-petroleum, renewable-based option. As consumers we demand choices in everything we buy, so why would we only want what Big Oil tells us to?
Just like Michael Myers in 1978’s “Halloween” (and all those brutal sequels), fear used by Big Oil’s army of government affairs and public relations firms just won’t die. No matter how many times they’re debunked or how swiftly their myths get busted, it crawls back to stab again. Even though ethanol-blended gasoline, namely E10, has been used problem-free for decades and over billions of miles driven, it continues undeterred. If you’ve ever googled “ethanol,” you know the results can be as cringe-worthy as a bad B-movie!
Frankly, the plot is tiresome. After reading their claims, you could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking Minnesota’s five million vehicles and their drivers will all end up stalled on dark, lonely highways.
It is not true. Period.
For more than 20 years, virtually all gasoline sold in our state has contained 10-volume percent ethanol, made from corn grown right here. That’s a huge economic and environmental success for a state with no petroleum resources. And back in 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved E15 for use in all gasoline-powered cars and trucks built after model year 2000–today, E15 can be used in 92% of vehicles on our roadways.
But scare tactics don’t have to be true and negativity doesn’t need to make sense. They only want to create doubt. Unfortunately, doubt can influence the media, policymakers, mechanics, consumers, and even fuel station owners. But the great news is consumers are getting wise to the lies. In addition to all gas stations selling ethanol-blended gasoline, Minnesota’s market of unleaded 88 E15 sites continues to grow quite rapidly. Moreover, Minnesota remains the nation’s leader in the number of fuel stations offering E85 and flex fuel blends.
The growing demand and consumer acceptance must be scary for API and their ilk. But next time you see the anti-ethanol scare tactics, relax, and ignore it! There is absolutely nothing to fear.