U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule on E15:
“I appreciate President Trump’s steadfast support for our patriotic farmers and for his commitment to expand the sale of E15 and unleash the full potential of American innovation and ingenuity as we continue to demonstrate our rightful place as the world’s leader in agricultural and energy production,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “This move to approve the year-round use of E15 in time for the summer driving season provides consumers with more choices when they fill up at the pump, driving demand for our farmers and improving the air we breathe. While the Trump Administration and USDA are expanding the ethanol market in the United States, we continue to fight for more export markets in Brazil, Mexico, China, and other countries across the globe. I applaud Administrator Andrew Wheeler for moving expeditiously to finalize this important E15 rule.”
RFA Applauds Final Rule Allowing Year-Round E15
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today welcomed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule allowing retailers to sell gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) year-round. Today’s action fulfills President Trump’s promise to eliminate the summertime prohibition on E15, a fuel that offers lower cost, reduced emissions, and higher octane.
In the nine years since EPA first approved the use of E15, RFA has worked tirelessly to remove the costly and unnecessary regulatory barrier that prevented retailers in most of the country from selling the fuel during the busy summer driving season. RFA has long advocated for an administrative resolution to this antiquated barrier and was highly encouraged last fall when President Trump directed EPA to act on its regulatory authority to solve the problem.
In response to today’s announcement, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper issued the following statement:
“The ethanol industry thanks President Trump for personally championing this critical regulatory reform that will enhance competition, bolster the rural economy, and provide greater consumer access to cleaner, more affordable fuel options. We have always agreed with the President’s assertion that the outdated summertime prohibition on E15 was ‘unnecessary’ and ‘ridiculous.’
“E15 already has a proven track record for saving drivers money at the pump and reducing emissions, and today’s action will ensure that more Americans are able to enjoy those benefits. Year-round E15 will also provide a badly needed long-term demand boost for our industry and America’s farmers, who face a number of daunting challenges today.
“We are cognizant, however, that the promise of today’s E15 announcement could be undermined if EPA continues its unprecedented assault on the RFS with indiscriminate small refinery hardship waivers. Against the intent of Congress, EPA has been granting RFS exemptions to refiners without requiring them to demonstrate their claimed ‘hardship’ is somehow connected to the RFS. The demand destruction caused by EPA’s waivers must end. We urge the President to build upon the momentum of today’s announcement by reining in EPA’s abuse of the small refiner exemption program.”
Year-Round E15 a Win-Win for Farmers and Consumers
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today celebrated the Trump Administration completing actions to allow for year-round sales of 15 percent ethanol blends or E15.
“Corn farmers have been long-time advocates of higher blends of ethanol such as E15, touting its benefits to both the farmer and the consumer,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp said. “Farmers are facing some tough times which makes this announcement particularly welcome. We thank President Trump for following through on his promise to rural America and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and supporters in Congress for their outspoken commitment to year-round E15.”
The final rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eliminates the outdated barrier that required retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling E15 during the summer months by allowing E15 to receive the same summer volatility adjustment EPA permits for E10.
Higher blends of renewable fuels such as E15 reduce fuel prices for drivers by three to ten cents per gallon and result in lower emissions, improving air quality and providing greater greenhouse gas reductions. Blending additional ethanol replaces some of the most harmful components in gasoline, and cleaner ethanol results in 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline.
NCGA submitted comments to EPA in April to press the need to finalize the rulemaking to ensure there would not be an interruption in E15 sales between June and September. The comments also cautioned EPA against finalizing proposed Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market rule changes that would be counterproductive to greater biofuels blending supported by the E15 rule. NCGA agrees with EPA’s focus on transparency and market data in the final rule and the decision not to finalize proposals that would work against biofuels blending.
NCGA’s comments also highlighted the impact of EPA’s expansive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to large, profitable refineries, which have taken a toll on farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand. Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS exemptions to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 RFS compliance years totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. EPA currently has 39 waiver petitions pending for the 2018 RFS compliance year.
“While corn farmers are immensely grateful that the barrier to year-round E15 has been lifted, we won’t be able to reap the full benefits if EPA continues to allow oil companies to avoid blending biofuels in accordance with the RFS,” Chrisp said.
American Farm Bureau Applauds Year-Round E15 Rule
The following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement to allow expanded E15 fuel sales may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall:
“Removing outdated barriers and regulations is a commitment that this Administration continues to make good on. As our country has worked on breaking our dependency on foreign oil, our farmers have played a major role in helping us become more energy independent. After years of declining farm income, opening up markets to additional fuel choices for consumers helps create new demand that farmers desperately need. While we applaud today’s announcement to allow year-round E15 sales, we look forward to working with the Environmental Protection Agency to address the harm caused by the Small Refinery Exemptions, which have negatively impacted demand for our homegrown renewable fuels.”