Biden to allow sale of E15 this summer
President Biden will announce on a visit to Iowa today that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan is planning to allow E15 gasoline — gasoline that uses a 15 percent ethanol blend — to be sold this summer, the White House said late Monday in an embargoed news release.
“To make E15 available in the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to issue a national, emergency waiver,” the White House said.
“Without this action, E15 cannot be used in most of the country from June 1 to Sept. 15, and the EPA plans to take final action to issue the emergency waiver closer to June 1. E15 is currently offered at 2,300 gas stations in the country, where it can serve as an important — and more affordable — source of fuel.”
The White House advised reporters Monday that Biden would travel to Menlo, Iowa, where he will visit POET Bioprocessing and “make an announcement on his administration’s actions to lower costs for working families, reduce the impact of Putin’s price hike, and Build a Better America with Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments in rural communities.”
POET is the largest producer of biofuels in the United States.
In the news release, the White House said that Biden would announce other efforts to use “homegrown biofuels” including spurring a new market in “sustainable aviation fuels” and expanding the use of canola in fuels.
National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington, an Iowa farmer, said, “Corn growers thank President Biden for ensuring that drivers continue to have access to a lower-cost fuel choice and for acknowledging how renewable ethanol helps reduce prices, lower emissions and improve our nation’s energy security. Farmers are proud to contribute to cleaner, less expensive fuel choices.”
Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, a lobbying group founded by POET CEO Jeff Broin, said, “This welcome news for all American drivers seeking lower cost options at the pump.”
“Lifting outdated and unnecessary summertime restrictions on E15 will ensure continued access to a fuel that has been saving drivers as much as 50 to 60 cents a gallon in recent weeks, offering working families relief at the pump at a time when they need it most.
“Not only is this decision a major win for American drivers and our nation’s energy security, it means cleaner options at the pump and a stronger rural economy. American biofuels like ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent compared to regular gasoline and are key to achieving the nation’s climate goals.
“We are grateful to President Biden and for the support of champions like [Agriculture] Secretary [Tom] Vilsack who have helped promote American biofuels as a solution to rising gasoline prices. We look forward to working with this administration and leaders in Congress to deliver a permanent fix to restore year-round access to E15 in the years ahead.”
Skor noted that E15 is available at more than 2,600 gas stations across 31 states and approved for more than 96 percent of light duty vehicles, which account for 98 percent of all vehicle miles traveled. Even before the recent run-up in oil prices, it was estimated that nationwide access to E15 could save drivers $12.2 billion annually in fuel costs.
Growth Energy noted that POET has hosted the last four U.S. presidents at one of its biorefineries. This is also the second time President Biden has visited a Growth Energy plant. As a presidential candidate, Biden toured Growth Energy member Big River Resources in Burlington, Iowa, in 2019.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in a news release Monday said, “Tomorrow, President Biden will have the perfect opportunity to stand with Iowa farmers by allowing summer sales of E15.”
“Decisions this year by the Biden administration have shown the president clearly favors Big Oil interests over the interest of Iowa farmers,” Grassley said. “It would be foolish for the president to continue down this path when he visits the No. 1 biofuel producing state in the nation.”
“As energy costs skyrocket, President Biden has relied on OPEC and dictators around the world to produce more oil to reduce the price at the pump at home,” Grassley said.
“I’m hopeful tomorrow the president will finally embrace cleaner, cheaper home-grown biofuels that reduce dependence on foreign sources and empower American workers to solve the energy crisis. I know Iowa biofuel producers can ramp up production and provide affordable, low-carbon biofuels to the country if the president allows summer sales of E15.”
Grassley pointed out that he and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, “have continued to bring bipartisan solutions to the table that showcase Iowa’s clean and reliable energy.”
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