Just a week after the Biden administration’s decision to expand availability of a higher ethanol blend of fuel called E15, Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill that will provide incentives to retailers who sell it. LB596, a bill combined with LB1261e, allows for a credit of 5 cents on each gallon of E15 sold and 8 cents per gallon of E25 or higher blends sold – making ethanol more affordable for retailers who are helping keep fuel prices down for its patrons. Retailers can apply to the Nebraska Department of Revenue for the credits.
“At the retail level, very simply put, E15 is better fuel and it costs less,” said Randy Gard, chief operating officer of Bosselman Enterprises and secretary of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “We are excited about the passing of LB596 and what it can do for our customers. If you are a retailer, there is now nothing standing in your way today to make the transition from E10, the standard fuel most people use today, to joining this mass conversion to E15. There are incentives with LB596, there’s consumer demand, there are certainly price pressures, and increased availability at the terminals. This is a win for everybody…retailers, legislators, farmers and ranchers, and especially users of ethanol who support Nebraska’s economy, help the environment, and save money every time they fill up.”
Bosselman Enterprises, located in Grand Island, was an early adopter of E15 at many of its Pump and Pantry locations across the state. They continue to see double digit sales growth for E15 every year.
Interested in selling high ethanol blends?
If you are considering selling higher blends of ethanol and need more information, reach out to the Nebraska Ethanol Board at 402-471-2941 or visit the resources tab at ethanol.nebraska.gov.
E15, a blend of gasoline and 15% ethanol, is safe and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use in vehicles 2001 or newer, light-duty trucks, medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs), and all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs).
Nine out of 10 of the cars, trucks and SUVs on the road today are approved by their manufacturer to run on E15. E15 has both a higher-octane rating and costs less than regular unleaded due to its higher ethanol content. This gives retailers a lower-priced, higher-octane fuel to post on the price sign to attract consumers.
In Nebraska, E85 is available at 125 fueling stations and E15 is available at around 110 fueling stations. Locations can be found at fueledbynebraska.com. If our nation moved to a fuel standard of E15, consumers would save $12.2 billion in fuel costs every single year, according to industry expert Growth Energy.
Funding for infrastructure is also available. Find details at ethanol.nebraska.gov/resources/incentive-programs/.
Who can use ethanol?
Everybody! More than 98% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol, typically E10, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Because of ethanol blended into our fuel stock, consumers who use ethanol already save $.40 to $.60 per gallon as compared to fuel containing no ethanol. E15 can save consumers around an additional $.10 per gallon.
Ethanol, which is made from inedible field corn, is non-toxic and provides the octane boost engines need while displacing harmful aromatics and reducing particulate matter, carbon monoxide, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), and other pollutants that lead to respiratory issues, heart disease, and even death. The higher the blend used, the lower the toxins. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biofuels reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46% compared to gasoline.
“We need to raise the bar and set the standard for clean fuels for generations to come,” said Senator Joni Albrecht at the bill signing April 19. Albrecht is just one of several Nebraska lawmakers, championing the effort to make ethanol more widely available. “If consumers are given a choice, they will choose a higher blend of ethanol that is of lower cost and better for the air. Only 10% of Nebraska’s fuel stations offer higher blends of ethanol, but reinvesting in our state’s fuel infrastructure through this tax credit will result in a huge win for Nebraska.”
Federal legislation has also been introduced to ensure higher blends of ethanol are available year-round. The Next Generation Fuels Act (NGFA) has bi-partisan support including all of Nebraska’s House delegation. The NGFA would give immediate access to E15 across the country and provide the framework for adoption of using even higher ethanol fuels in conventional vehicles.
Biofuels, including ethanol, are underutilized in today’s fuel market but don’t need to be. Nebraska ethanol plants have the capacity to produce 2.6 billion gallons each year but only produce about 2.2 billion gallons. By allowing broader use of lower-cost ethanol blends permanently, Nebraskans could better protect the Earth from the impending climate crisis, enhance our nation’s energy security, and realize ethanol’s economic benefits.