In October of 2020, CountryMark joined the USDA, the Indiana Department of Rural Development, and two CountryMark member companies in investing in new fuel dispensers that would bring E15 to more Midwestern communities.
INDIANAPOLIS – An unknown Ohio group mailed postcards earlier this month to a number of Indiana households and businesses that claimed CountryMark “hates ethanol” because of CountryMark’s support for Indiana Senate Bill 303, also known as the ethanol or gasohol bill. The postcards featured violent imagery and were sent from a group that calls themselves “Farmers for Ethanol.” CountryMark was unable to find a website or any reference on the internet to this group.
SB 303, the legislation referenced on the postcards, seeks to update Indiana’s definition of gasohol and would make selling gasoline with a 15 percent blend of ethanol legal year round in the state of Indiana.
Indiana currently defines gasohol as a fuel that contains up to 10 percent ethanol. That’s a problem because in 2019, the EPA granted a vapor pressure waiver for E15 (gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol). That federal waiver enabled E15 to be sold during summer months. In the winter months, however, state laws would continue to dictate what fuels qualify for the vapor pressure waiver. To legally sell E15 in Indiana in the winter, Indiana would need to update its definition of gasohol to include E15.
CountryMark didn’t propose this update to state legislators alone. CountryMark met with Indiana Farm Bureau, Indiana Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Environment Management and Indiana Department of Energy to discuss the need for a legislative path that would enable all Indiana fuel retailers to sell E15 year round.
When Indiana elected officials reviewed the proposal, they felt adding a label to Indiana E15 dispensers asking consumers to check their owner’s manual before purchasing E15 was an appropriate safeguard.
Senate Bill 303 passed the Indiana Senate and House this past winter with overwhelming majorities and is now being reviewed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. By 5 p.m. today, Governor Holcomb will either sign the bill into law, allow the bill to go into law without his signature, or will veto the bill.
“We are grateful for our friends at Indiana Farm Bureau, our member owners and many Indiana farmers who have stood beside us during this debate as we have defended the ability to sell year round gasoline with higher ethanol blends in the state of Indiana,” said CountryMark President and CEO Matt Smorch. “Our position will not change on this matter. We want to sell more ethanol and SB 303 provides us with certainty that we are refining the right fuel for the winter months, while also providing more information for consumers. At CountryMark, we strive to do the right thing for our member owners, customers and Indiana farmers, and we will continue to do so.” If you would like to learn more about CountryMark’s position on ethanol-blended fuels, please visit our news story on Senate Bill 303 or a listing of our ethanol-blended fuels. If you have questions you would like answered, please call our Member Services Manager Robert Potter at 317-775-3196 or send an email to Robert.Potter@CountryMark.com.