by Chuck Beck from Ethanol Today Magazine
The E15 fuel blend (gas with 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline) is getting the thumbs up from two national motor club organizations.
Recently, Gene Hammond and Mark Muncey, co-owners of the Association Motor Club Marketing (AMCM) and Travelers motor clubs, announced that the over 18 million Americans their motor clubs serve have never experienced any problems with the E15 fuel blend since the fuel became available in 2012.
Hammond notes their stance is different from other motor clubs.
“For the past two years, AAA has lobbied the federal government to suspend sales of E15, suggesting it could void warranties or cause engine damage. Following the approval of E15 we began examining our road service data and found no evidence ethanol has caused any problems for our members. We support the EPA decision to approve E15 for use in cars and light trucks starting with the model year 2001.
“Ultimately our focus is on our members, and in our eyes, real-world experience trumps a study every time. During my 40 years in the motor club business, not only have I not seen an increase in service calls that were fuel-related, but we have yet to have one of our over 18 million members call us with a problem related to the use of ethanol,” Hammond said.
Hammond notes that using E15 provides an economic benefit that motor club members should not overlook.
“Recent statistics show that E15 has been priced 30 to 40 cents lower than straight gasoline and 3 to 10 cents lower than regular which contains ten percent ethanol. But more importantly, giving drivers more choices at the pump means competition for traditional grades of gasoline, and that creates lower prices across the board. Whether a consumer uses E15 or not, we feel merely having it in the marketplace will help everyone save money when they fill up,” Hammond said.
Muncey says the endorsement by both motor clubs should send a strong message to retailers.
“We believe E15 is a much needed product across this country, we feel it will help consumers everywhere by giving them more choices at the pump,” Muncey said.
ACE senior vice president Ron Lamberty agrees, saying it’s important to have the motor clubs speak out and share their stories on what their members have seen, and more importantly haven’t seen, when it comes to using E15.
“Real-world results trump ghost stories, and the real-world findings of these two auto clubs mirror what we have heard from fuel station owners who sell E15: they’ve had no customer complaints, no breakdowns, and no repair bills from drivers who fill up with E15. In fact, because E15 is a higher octane fuel that costs less than regular, stations with E15 are gaining customers and E15 has become the second highest volume fuel in most of the stations that sell it,” Lamberty said.
Lamberty says he’s hopeful that this announcement will help put to rest some of the myths and lies the Big Oil lobby and AAA have tried to spread over E15.
“With all the time, money, and lobbying anti-ethanol groups have put in to this E15 ghost story, if there were any cars stranded because of E15 or if there was a single warranty claim denied because of E15, we would have heard about it by now. The car owner would be a household name. It hasn’t happened, and it’s not going to happen.”
ACE members receive discounted AMCM membership
Many ACE members and ethanol supporters have grown tired of AAA’s attacks and are looking for an alternative auto club. That’s why in addition to working with Travelers and AMCM to coordinate their support of E15, ACE has established a partnership specifically with AMCM to allow ACE members to join its motor club by going to www. amcm-online.com where they will receive an additional $10 discount from the $35 membership fee when they join online. That’s only $25 annually for AMCM motor club benefits like towing/winching assistance, battery assistance, flat tire assistance, lock-out assistance, fuel and oil delivery, fluid and water delivery, hotel and travel discounts, 5% cash back hotel program, $500 hit and run/ theft reward, and more.
At press time, a number of ACE members had taken steps to share the message about the AMCM discount for biofuels supporters: Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company sent the information to its 952 shareholders, Glacial Lakes Energy shared it with its 1,000 member email list, and the Missouri Corn Growers Association passed it on to its 2,700 members. If you would like to share this information with your members or shareholders, contact ACE at 605-334-3381 to request printed materials and/or a shareable electronic message.