Of the vehicles on the road today, 95% are approved for E-15, and to date, 17 billion miles have already been driven on E-15.

That’s why partnerships, like the one between the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and Growth Energy, are working to further increase both biofuels infrastructure and education for legislators, retailers and consumers.

NCGA, Growth Energy discuss ethanol’s potential

“We know once we get on the other side of this election, the next major legislation, the next major energy policy, it’s going to be in the context of a climate conversation,” said Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO. “And that’s whether it comes from the left or the right politically. We want to have a seat at the table. So the conversation that we’re having is ‘if you have goals, if you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if you want to take a look at the transportation sector, what can we do to decarbonize? Ethanol is your solution.’”

While not everybody can afford an electric vehicle, ethanol is readily available and affordable, added Skor.

And legislation, like the Next Generation Fuels Act, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, earlier this fall, has the potential to bolster ethanol as well.

“We’re really excited to have Representative Cheri Bustos introduce that,” said John Linder, NCGA president. “We have a co-sponsor, and we need to find as many people supporting this as we can as we move this forward. It’s really an exciting time, the new ethanol is ethanol, and we’re excited to look at it in that light and we like to frame it that way. (These are) real market solutions.”

While COVID has decreased overall fuel demand, there has been a 10% increase in E-15 billed out of retailers. In addition, biorefinery coproducts have received newfound attention, thanks to industrial and beverage grade quality ethanol being utilized to produce sanitizer.

While final market and infrastructure hurdles need to be crossed before E-15 can become the norm, that is just the beginning for ethanol potential.

“Our goal is that E-15 becomes the new national fuel and then we build on that,” explained Skor. “That’s the steppingstone to even higher blends. When that happens, that is 7 billion gallons of new demand every year and 2.5 billion bushels of corn ground. That’s a game changer. And that is within reach for us.”