Gasoline Retailers Say They Need E15 Emergency Waiver Soon
LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) – While E15 sales will stop on June 1 without an emergency waiver, gasoline retailers said during a press call on Thursday that not only do they need a waiver to continue sales but they need it right away.
To put in context how soon the Biden administration will need to act: Last summer the administration granted an E15 waiver on April 12, which allowed gasoline retailers to plan to continue sales.
Brad Petersen, director of retail fuels at Kum and Go, said retailers across the country ultimately need a fix to allow E15 sales to continue year-round every year across the country. Taking E15 away from pumps every summer is time-consuming and takes planning.
"It is a challenge," Petersen said during a Growth Energy press call.
"For our organization we have over 200 locations that offer E15 and you multiply that by how many fueling positions are at each of those stores and honestly it would be difficult. We'd have to work with operations, with facilities, third-party providers to help as well at these (adjusting fueling) dispensers."
Gasoline retailers have been meeting with lawmakers and government representatives in Washington, D.C., this week sharing their stories about the importance of E15 regulatory certainty.
Carson Berger, CEO of NUVU Fuels Michigan, said shutting off E15 pumps during the summer and restoring those sales again every fall is not easy on consumers.
"Switching your fuel offerings for a short amount of time adds consumer confusion," he said.
"Our consumers have been purchasing E15 from our facility for five years and they come in and they expect that product to be there. And then when, during these outdated regulations, all of a sudden there's a change in our fueling offerings for let's say just a short amount of time, that just causes consumer confusion. Our consumers don't understand these regulations and they just start wondering, 'I wanted it I can't get it now.'"
Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said lawmakers and Biden administration officials they've met with this week seem to understand the significance of granting an E15 waiver.
Skor said the same economic conditions that led to a waiver last year still exist in 2023.
"Creating market volatility and driving up prices at the pump will remain top of mind for consumers," she said.
News headlines last week, Skor said, show a likely repeat of rising gasoline prices this summer.
"So, to ensure continued energy security and that consumers continue to have availability of a low-cost fuel option which they've had access by the way every summer since 2018," she said, "we need EPA to act swiftly to ensure uninterrupted access to a lower-cost, lower-carbon fuel."
Skor said E15 last summer saved drivers nearly $1 per gallon at the pump at some locations.
"That is an incredibly meaningful difference no matter what the price of fuel is, and why we want to ensure consumers have access to this summer," she said.
Petersen said his company operates more than 400 gasoline retail stores in 13 states primarily in the Midwest.
"But we have 207 locations as of today that offer E15 to our customers," he said.
"We saw a lot of our consumers shift from the standard E10 to E15 (last summer) because of the much lower price at the pump for our customers. But we also were able to offer certain promotions and discounts of this fuel up to actually $1.50 off of what you see at the standard pump."
Read more on DTN:
"RFA's Cooper Seeks E15 Waiver for 2023 in Letter to EPA's Regan," https://www.dtnpf.com/…
"Biden Approves State E15 Requests," https://www.dtnpf.com/…
Todd Neeley can be reached at email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley
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