The owner of an Ottawa business received national recognition for his clean energy efforts.

Scott Zaremba, president and owner of Zarco 66, was awarded the Renewable Fuels Association’s Ethanol Industry Award this month for his commitment to expanding fuel choices for Kansans. A Lawrence-based, family-owned company, Zarco 66 has nine locations in Kansas including one in Ottawa at 2518 East Logan St.

“I’m proud to be able to offer my customers a choice at the pump, especially when that choice helps Kansas drivers save money, clean the environment and support ethanol production jobs across the state of Kansas and throughout the Midwest,” Zaremba said at the Renewable Fuels Association’s 18th annual National Ethanol Conference this month.

Bob Dinneen, RFA’s President and CEO, called Zaremba a “trailblazer” in the industry after he presented him with the award at the conference.

“He has vision, know-how and most important, passion. It is never easy being first-in-the-nation at anything, but it is particularly challenging when introducing an entirely new fuel. Scott is committed to offering E15 in the name of a stronger, more energy independent country,” Dinneen said.

In July 2012, Zaremba became the first petroleum marketer in the United States to offer E15, Travis Moore, the company’s marketing director, said. Since that time, he has expanded E15 availability to seven stations throughout Kansas, including the station in Ottawa. E15 is an ethanol-gasoline blend that contains 15 percent ethanol.

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency determined that all light-duty cars, trucks and SUVs made in 2001 or later can safely run on E15 gasoline, according to the EPA’s website. Those model year vehicles represent about two-thirds of all vehicles on the road and nearly three-fourths of all miles driven, the EPA states.

Not only is ethanol safe for a variety of vehicle models, Moore said, E15 is a cleaner fuel that cleans the engine as it is burnt. With this cleaning, he said, motorists can get higher octane and some people have said they get better gas mileage because the engine stays cleaner.

On top of the potential for increased engine efficiency, Zaremba viewed E15 as an alternative fuel that is more earth friendly, Moore said.

“Using more ethanol than gas also reduces the amount of carbon emissions emitted into the atmosphere,” Moore said. “Reduction of vehicle pollutants has become a worldwide initiative, and Zaremba has taken the lead with Zarco 66 by offering Earth-friendly fuels to consumers.”

Drivers who chose to fill up their take with the E15 mixture are helping the American economy, as well, Moore said. Ethanol is produced in the United States, he said, and supports more than 400,000 jobs, which reduces the country’s dependency on foreign oil.

“It really helps out the local economy, not just here in Kansas, but also the nation as a whole,” Moore said.