On June 11 President Trump delivered a speech in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he lifted the ban on E15 gasoline for the summer months. E15 is gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol. The announcement was good news for Nebraska farmers, because Iowa and Nebraska are the top two ethanol producing states in the country. So, the more ethanol we sell, the better it is for Nebraska’s corn growers.
E15 has been the subject of much criticism in recent years. So, today I would like to explain why E15 is a great Nebraska product and why we need it for the future. Whether we want to admit it or not, E15 is here to stay, but there are some very good reasons why we should all like this unique Nebraska product.
The first reason that makes E15 such a great product is that it helps the United States compete in the global oil market. Because of political turmoil in places such as the Middle East and Venezuela, the United States can no longer depend upon these oil producing countries to supply us with the oil we need. As President Trump said in his speech, “More American ethanol production means less dependence on foreign supplies.” The United States needs to become an oil independent nation, and American ethanol plays an important role in helping us reach that goal. Some, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, believe ethanol has the potential to cut our use of gasoline in half.
A second reason why E15 is a great product is because it is harmless to your vehicle. One of the main criticisms of ethanol in the past has been that it is harmful to your engine’s fuel system, but these criticisms have been largely debunked by objective studies. For instance, one such objective study was conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in March 2012. That study found no remarkable degradation in fuel systems in cars with models dating back as far as 1995. As a general rule, though, you should not use E15 in classic cars, cars manufactured prior to 2001, or in small engines, such as your lawn mower.
A third reason that makes E15 such a great product is that the timing is right. E15 is a fuel for America’s future. The EPA has approved E15 for all cars manufactured since 2001, but this year car manufacturers are rolling out new models specifically designed for burning E15. The only holdouts this year are BMW, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Volvo. I believe these foreign car manufacturers will come around soon, especially once they learn that Americans want to buy new cars that are even better designed for burning E15.
Nebraska stands to benefit greatly from this increased demand for E15 and other ethanol products. President Trump also signed an executive order on June 11 to promote agricultural biotechnology. The executive order will direct federal agencies to streamline regulations and to speed up innovation. Consequently, the new E15 rule change along with biotechnology and higher demands for the product will only spur on development and encourage economic growth in our state. So, in the final analysis E15 is very good for Nebraska.