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South Dakota Events Rally Support for E15
by Chuck Beck

Ethanol producer Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC of Watertown, South Dakota is a big supporter of the move to 15 percent ethanol per gallon, and they made sure their community was on board as well. To rally support for E15, GLE hosted events at filling stations in Aberdeen, South Dakota on May 13 and in Watertown on May 15.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at each location, drivers received a discount on ethanol blends. A quarter was given back per gallon at the four Aberdeen gas stations, and dimes were given back per gallon in Watertown. The Watertown Cenex station hosting the event has blender pumps offering blends between E10 and E85, with drivers getting up to 40 cents off per gallon if they selected E85.

Officials estimate than nearly 5,000 gallons of ethanol-blended fuel were pumped during each of the two-hour events. More than 225 people turned out for the Watertown event alone.

The events helped generate support for the E15 waiver currently being considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with more than 300 signatures being gathered for the American Coalition for Ethanol’s E15 petition. These will be added to the more than 5,500 signatures already present on the online version of the petition at

Marcy Kohl of Glacial Lakes Energy and its farmer cooperative Glacial Lakes Corn Processors observed many people who came out not only to get the discounted fuel, but also to sign the petition.

“I visited with some people who came out just because they needed to sign the petition,” Kohl said. “Also, some of them support ethanol so much that already they are running an E30 blend in their vehicle even though they don’t have a flex-fuel vehicle.”

Among those lined up at the pump included Watertown motorist Julie Lichtness.

“I wasn’t really surprised at the lines of people, because a lot of people are hoping we do move to a higher blend because it would really be good,” Lichtness said. “People really deserve choices at the gas pump, especially now that people are so conscious on what their vehicle can do for them as far as providing better fuel economy or mileage. So it’s just good to have a choice.”

Watertown area farmer Robert Mack stopped by the Cenex station and filled up with E30.

“I see no reason to not bring in my vehicles for an E30 fillup,” Mack said. “I think the power is better, the engine runs cleaner. You know, I just can’t see using foreign oil when there is the option to use something made right here in my hometown.”

Mack says the turnout of more than 225 people in Watertown shows what kind of local support ethanol has there.

“A move to E15 just makes so much sense, especially here in South Dakota where even the byproducts of ethanol help farmers so much. It provides great feed for cattle, provides jobs in the area, and it really does so much for the local economy.”

Mack said that he uses E30 in everything at his farm, including in his tractor where he reports getting better power with the blend, and in his lawn mower.

“Ethanol helps loosen our dependence on foreign oil, and that is one of the biggest advantages,” added Watertown resident Steve Koistinen who attended the E15 rally. “It’s really a win-win, and it’s going to be a long time before gasoline is replaced, and ethanol is here right now.”


Photos of the Watertown event are posted on the "Ethanol" Facebook page.

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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industry�s hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanol�s carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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