You would think something like defining a biofuel as an alternative to gasoline – something that seems so obvious a few years ago – would be a simple process. Turns out it's not. Did you know that E85, a blend of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol, is not technically an alternative fuel? At least, it's not according to the tax code as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, and that's something that the Coalition for E85 is working to change.

The reason the Coalition is getting together now and growing (The Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America is a new member) is that the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC, a per-gallon subsidy) is set to expire at the end of the year. Since ethanol producers were getting a tax benefit through VEETC, the IRS did not want producers "double-dipping" into the alternative fuel tax benefits. That makes an odd sort of sense. Once the VEETC expires, the ethanol industry wants to make sure it can still get some federal money – just for the next five years, apparently – to keep making corn ethanol.

Speaking with Domestic Fuel, a tax code specialist who is working with the Coalition, Jeff Trinca, said, "What we're basically saying is we 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."

Read more about the coalition's efforts here.

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