The EPA pointed to “President Trump’s promise” in ending its summertime ban on the sale of E15, a richer blend of corn ethanol into gasoline than the traditional blend of 10 percent. The oil industry, in response, hinted at a possible lawsuit.
For years, larger and larger sales of corn ethanol were almost a given. For one thing, the Renewable Fuel Standard guaranteed biofuels a share of the gasoline market, and car-happy Americans used more gasoline every year. The joyride, however, may be ending, says a University of Illinois economist.
The EPA intends to approve the year-round sale of E15 in time for the summer driving season, said administrator Andrew Wheeler on Tuesday. In proposing an end to the ban on summertime sales, the EPA set a 45-day comment period on its proposal.
The Renewable Fuel Standard, which guarantees biofuels such as corn ethanol a share of the gasoline market, has prompted farmers to plow under wildlife habitat and has contributed to agricultural runoff, said the National Wildlife Federation on Thursday.
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to begin work in February to allow year-round sale of E15 and complete the regulation in May, just ahead of the usual June 1 cutoff of summer sales. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, from the top corn and ethanol state, said on Tuesday that the agency "ought to speed it up" to be sure the fuel will be available for the summer driving season.
On Thursday, after months of complaints about undue secrecy, the EPA unveiled a modified website on the Renewable Fuel Standard that shows its decisions to exempt small-volume refineries from the mandate to mix biofuels into gasoline and diesel fuel.
In the No. 1 corn and ethanol state, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told a friendly farm audience on Wednesday that the Trump administration is looking to balance the needs of ethanol makers and oil refiners so that it can allow year-round sales of E15.
Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is “working very hard to find a solution” for the year-round sale of E15, said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on a conference call with reporters Wednesday. Grassley also said that an earlier proposal that would allow refiners to earn the credits called RINs for exports is “no longer on the table” at the EPA.
One in seven of the farmers who voted for President Trump in 2016 would not vote for him today, according to a poll released on Monday. The escalating trade war was leading cause of erosion of support for Trump among a staunchly Republican group. But a majority still support him: 60 percent would vote for him now vs. 75 percent in 2016.