Ethanol backers say a temporary or Midwest ‘fix’ to allow summertime E15 gas sales is good, but not good enough. Ethanol lobbyists and backers in Congress praised Midwest governors for asking EPA recently to allow permanent year-round E15 sales, but argue one region and one year are not enough.
Renewable Fuels Association chief Geoff Cooper says the administration hinted earlier when President Biden announced the waiver only for this summer, that EPA was talking to some Midwest states on a more permanent fix. “But longer term, we still need a permanent solution to ensure that drivers can access E15 year-round.”
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, whose state is seeking a green light for perpetual year-round E15 sales, says summer sales of the higher blend used to be just a regional issue. “But I think, now, it’s nationwide and it ought to be nationwide, so I don’t think it’s good enough just to have it regional.”
Nor, Grassley says, is the uncertainty about next year good for the biofuels industry. He doesn’t think the Biden Administration is inclined to change that. “No, just the opposite. You get the opinion that they aren’t going to do it because they made it clear it’s only for one year, and that’s a problem.”
2,600 retailers across 31 states now sell E15, but after a successful oil industry court challenge, the Biden Administration was forced to suspend summertime sales but used an emergency waiver this summer to help deal with high gas prices.