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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Two months after the Coalition for E85 formed, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) is joining the group's ranks.
A group of retailers, producers and equipment manufacturers -- among others -- formed the Coalition for E85 in October. The campaign looks to protect the 2,500 small businesses that have invested in ethanol fuel and halt a multimillion-dollar tax hike on consumers, as CSNews Online previously reported.
"Many of our members have made a significant investment to bring convenient access to E85 to our customers and they've responded by filling up tank after tank with E85," said Tim Columbus, general counsel for SIGMA. "SIGMA believes that we cannot abandon E85 this close to self-sustainability, especially when everyone from auto makers, to retailers and consumers are supporting this domestically produced fuel. We're joining the coalition to let our government leaders hear why providing access to American-made fuels is critical to building our nation's economy."
Congress already designated E85 as an alternative fuel in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. However, E85 was not included in the tax credit commonly used for other alternative fuels (the Alternative Fuel Credit) to avoid any instance when ethanol would receive both that credit and the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, according to the coalition's website.
"E85 as an alternative fuel is defined everywhere in the U.S. code, except for the Internal Revenue code," tax code specialist Jeff Trinca explained in a statement on the North America Equipment Dealers Association website. It has not been included within the tax code in the past in order to avoid "double dipping" in tax credits because of the existing blenders' credit, the statement noted.
With the expiration of the blenders' tax credit coming at the end of this year, the coalition "would like E85 to be included in the definition of alternative fuels with propane, natural gas and others so there's a level playing field," said Trinca, who works with the coalition. He noted that the coalition is only looking for a five-year bridge to get the infrastructure in to be competitive with gasoline. He said efforts are underway to get a bill introduced in Congress to address the issue before the end of the year.
Other members of the Coalition for E85 include Propel Fuels, Protec, Clean Fuels Development Coalition, Pearson Fuels, AMERigreen, Petro Serve USA and the Petroleum Marketers Association of America.