Despite ethanol production increasing 3.4 percent last week to 894,000 barrels a day,  hitting the “E10 Blend Wall”  is having a negative impact on new projects, Doug Durante, executive director of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, told an ethanol forum this week.He added that E15 may have little immediate impact on breaking through the wall.  By opening 20 shuttered ethanol plants, the United States could produce 918 million more gallons a year, according to Durante.

One problem that remains a challenge is that it is harder to buy corn now, Steve Bleyl, executive vice president for Green Plains Renewable Energy, said.  He added “there are more farmers with on-farm storage. Farmers are getting smarter. If I want to contact a farmer in January, I have to call Hawaii,” Bleyl told the forum that another problem for increasing E15 sales has been the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) handling of the new product. “You call EPA and get a different answer day after day,” Bleyl said. “We’re getting answers, but it’s taking time. Today we’re not going to get a chain of 150 stores to go to E15, but we’ll get there, he noted.”  Gasoline use is going the wrong direction, said Jim Sneed, vice president of Hawkeye Gold.  More Americans are working from home, up 75 percent since 2005, he  indicated, and refiners are not acceptive to E15.  “We’re eating into the refiners’ lunch,” he explained.