Ethanol update: E15, RFS, an ethanol pioneer and higher "renewable content"

ethanolplantThere’s a lot happening in the world of ethanol and biofuels these days. Whether it’s new developments in the battle to maintain a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) or the growing popularity of E15, there’s no shortage of news about ethanol.

In order to cover as much of it as we can and keep corn farmers up to date, we here at plan to do regular “Ethanol Update” posts to highlight the most newsworthy ethanol items from the previous week.

E15 on the rise
The numbers are in for the first quarter of 2015: Minnesotans filled up with 510,021 gallons of E15. That’s nearly double the amount of E15 sold during the first quarter of last year. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association was part of a broad coalition that brought E15, a blend of 15 percent homegrown ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, to Minnesota in the fall of 2013.

There are currently 18 stations dispensing E15. That number is expected to increase to 30 stations int he coming months.

Klobuchar and Franken stand up for the RFS
A group of U.S. senators that included Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) strong. The RFS sets targets for the amount of clean, renewable and homegrown ethanol to blend into gasoline.

After numerous delays in setting renewable volume obligations (RVOs) through the RFS for 2013 and 2014, EPA has committed to releasing 2015 RVOs by June 1. The delays have cost the biofuels industry billions and come at a time when low corn prices are putting the squeeze on many farm families.

Dale Tolifson featured
MCGA board member and Benson farmer Dale Tolifson is featured in the latest edition of “Ethanol Today” magazine. In his own words, Dale shares his family history in farming and how he and many others in the area helped build an ethanol plant in Benson that’s helped the community thrive.

“A lot of meetings, a lot of people to talk to,” Dale writes. “Sometimes it’s had to sell somebody else on it when it was all new to us, and we were trying to sell ourselves on it. We finally go the money raised, and then we started building, I think it was ’94 and it went into operation in ’96.”

Be sure to read the entire piece here. Thank you, Dale, for being an ethanol pioneer in Minnesota!

Which side will EPA choose?
Fuels America has produced a new video out highlighting the benefits of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to not cave into the oil industry’s demands to weaken the RFS. Watch the video below.



Higher “renewable content”
This is an interesting read about the growing popularity of fuels with “high renewable content,” i.e., any fuel that contains more than the standard 10 percent ethanol blend. Jim Lane writes:

In Minnesota, retail owners are moving away from a branded oil contract into the independent brand of Minnoco.  MINNOCO (Minnesota Independent Oil Company) is a brand of gasoline developed for the members of the Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association by the members of the MSSA.

“With Minnoco, I’m able to offer E15 as a more competitive fuel to my customers at a much lower price vs. regular,” explained Rick Bohnen, president of Minnoco and owner of Penn Minnoco. “This is a better business model for me because it significantly reduces my operational costs vs. branded fuels and I’m able to pass the savings on to consumers.”

Where to find higher ethanol blends
If you’re wondering where you can fill up with E15, E85 or other higher ethanol blends, go to for a map and list of stations. You can also download the Minnesota Biofuels Association station locator app.

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