Trump to make E15 announcement in Iowa tonight
President Donald Trump is expected to announce that the government will begin the process of allowing year-round sale of E15, a gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, and stabilize the markets for the Renewable Identification Numbers that manage ethanol, at an event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, late today.
Sale of E15 is banned in summer months and critics say it is not safe in vehicles then. But ethanol advocates say it is.
A senior administration official who briefed reporters late Monday said that Trump has “directed” Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to begin the rulemaking process. The official did not provide a timeline on the rule, but said the goal is to have it in place by next summer’s driving season.
The renewable fuels industry and the oil industry, which does not favor an increase in the use of ethanol, have been in conflict over E15 for years.
In responding to questions, the senior administration official said that Trump is “committed to helping farmers” and did not respond directly to questions about what impact E15 would have on the economy or on climate change.
The renewable fuel industry and farm groups say that ethanol use fights global warming and climate change, while some environmentalists say the making ethanol takes more energy than it produces.
The first part of the rulemaking will involve changing the rule on the Reid vapor pressure (RVP), which EPA describes as “a common measure of and generic term for gasoline volatility, to allow year-round sale of E15.”
EPA notes that it regulates the vapor pressure of gasoline sold at retail stations during the summer ozone season (June 1 to Sept. 15) to reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline that contribute to ground-level ozone and diminish the effects of ozone-related health problems.
Growth Energy, a group that represents ethanol plant builders and operators, has said the rule is “outdated.”
The second part of the rulemaking involves stabilizing the market for Renewable identification Numbers and avoiding manipulation of that market. The renewable fuels industry and the oil industry are also in conflict over how RINS should be managed.
The oil industry recently called the expected announcement “unacceptable,” DTN/The Progressive Farmer reported.
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