Ethanol Producers, Retailers Form Coalition for E85

Industry leaders join to fight for tax parity with other alternative fuels

WASHINGTON -- A coalition of retailers, producers, equipment manufacturers and others have formed the Coalition for E85, a campaign to protect the investments of 2,500 small businesses and stop a multi-million dollar tax hike on consumers.

The Coalition for E85 currently includes Propel Fuels, Protec Fuels, Pearson Fuels, Clean Fuels Development Coalition, multiple ethanol industry associations, pump and tank companies and individual E85 retailers.

If the current tax credit for ethanol fuel expires at year's end, millions of flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV) drivers will pay as much as 38 cents more per gallon, the group said. This increase will force many small businesses that have invested more than $100 million in E85 infrastructure to close their pumps, it also claimed.

"E85 is not only an alternative fuel, it is our nation's most widely adopted alternative fuel," said Matt Horton, CEO of Propel Fuels, one of the lead members of the Coalition for E85. "If we are to make a meaningful dent in our dependency on foreign oil, we must expand E85 infrastructure and ensure this fuel has fair tax treatment."

As the leading alternative fuel choice at the pump, E85 Flex Fuel has the potential to provide nine million American drivers a clean fuel option, while making progress toward freeing our country from its foreign petroleum dependency, said the group.

E85 also provides a platform for advanced biofuels, it said. E85 can be made from nonfood sources such as farming byproducts, algae biomass and household waste. The federal government has invested deeply in development and commercialization of these next-generation biofuels, but without E85, such innovations may never be fully developed, the coalition said.

"The impacts on the price and availability of E85 will be dramatic," said Todd Garner, CEO of Protec Fuels, a member of the Coalition for E85. "We must not abandon E85 this close to self-sustainability. We hope retailers, producers, automakers and others concerned about the future of E85 will stand up and fight with us."

Currently other alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas, propane and hydrogen receive a 50-cents-per-gallon tax credit as part of the Alternative Fuel Credit. The coalition said that it believes E85 should be included in this group.