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EPA Approves Midwest Governors Petition on Year Round E-15; Delays Implementation to 2025

(WASHINGTON D.C.) — On Thursday, after rumors circulated earlier in the week, the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that it was approving a petition by eight Midwest governors to approve the sale of E-15 gasoline year-round. However, EPA is delaying the implementation until 2025 as was previously rumored.

It was nearly two years ago that the Governors of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, used their authority under the Clean Air Act to petition the EPA for the removal of the 1-psi volatility waiver for E10. That would pave the way for use of E15 year round in those states. EPA, by law, had 90 days to approve the petition when it was formally submitted.

Groups such as Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, ACE and others are reacting to the news out today from the EPA. You can view their responses below. We will continue to update this story as it develops.

RFA: EPA Decision on Governors’ E15 Petitions a ‘Double-Edged Sword’

The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision today to approve long-delayed petitions from eight Midwest governors allowing summertime sales of E15 is a double-edged sword for American consumers, the Renewable Fuels Association said. On one hand, the EPA decision finally allows retailers in these eight states to sell E15 year-round. But on the other hand, it delays implementation until 2025, creating uncertainty and confusion about the availability of lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 this coming summer. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper offered the following reaction to today’s EPA decision:

“While we are pleased to see EPA has finally approved year-round E15 in these eight states, we are extremely disappointed by the Agency’s needless decision to delay implementation until 2025. It’s helpful to finally have some certainty about 2025 and beyond, but what happens this summer? The Biden administration missed its statutory deadline to finalize the governors’ petition by more than 500 days, and now it claims there just isn’t enough time to implement the rule in time for summer 2024. Why should ethanol producers, farmers, fuel retailers, and consumers in these states be penalized for EPA’s foot-dragging and failure to meet a clear deadline? With the 2024 summer driving season just a few months away, we are urging the administration to take additional action that will ensure consumers have uninterrupted access to lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 this summer.”

Cooper also said RFA is urging Congress to adopt legislation that would resolve this issue permanently. “If Congress passed the bipartisan Nationwide Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, we wouldn’t be in this situation. But a couple of stubborn East Coast refiners and their champions in the Senate continue to put up roadblocks to the enactment of this commonsense legislation that would slash emissions and reduce fuel prices for consumers. It’s time to lay aside parochial oil refiner interests and do what is right for the country.”

BACKGROUND

Nearly two years ago, eight Midwest governors used their authority under the Clean Air Act to formally petition the EPA for the removal of the 1-psi volatility waiver for E10. This action would reduce emissions and permanently level the playing field for E15 in their states. By law, EPA had 90 days to approve the Governors’ petition, yet the agency did not propose approval of the petition until March 2023.

This effort has long had broad support. Bipartisan legislation to allow permanent nationwide E15 (the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act) was introduced in the House in December 2022 and in the Senate in March 2023. The current legislative vehicle, the Nationwide Consumer and Retailer Choice Act, was introduced in the Senate in August 2023, the same month when the attorneys general of Iowa and Nebraska filed a complaint in federal court regarding EPA’s failure to meet its statutory deadline. And in December, a bipartisan group of 22 members of the House and Senate called on the White House to move quickly on the governors’ petition.

In his “state of the industry” presentation Tuesday at the National Ethanol Conference, Cooper stressed the importance of this issue. “E15 will not be the stabilizing market force we need until the summertime RVP barrier is permanently removed and the fuel is available year-round. Securing RVP parity for E15 remains a top priority for RFA and we won’t stop until we’ve accomplished that mission.”

Growth Energy Welcomes Finalized EPA Rule on Year-Round E15 for Eight Midwestern States

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Growth Energy, the nation’s largest biofuel trade association, applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today after it finalized a rule granting the request made by eight midwestern states to sell E15 year-round. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement in response:

“We commend EPA for finalizing its rule, and we thank the eight midwestern governors who have now successfully secured a future for year-round E15 in their states. This is a win for the residents of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, and a win for biofuel producers and fuel retailers.

“While this is great news, drivers will need a solution for this summer to minimize disruptions and make sure they have the same access to E15 that they’ve had for the past five summers.

“E15 saves drivers money while helping them lower their carbon emissions. We look forward to working with policymakers to ensure that consumers can have permanent access to these benefits all year long.”

About E15

E15 is a fuel blend made of gasoline and 15% bioethanol. EPA has approved its use in all cars, trucks, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) made in model year 2001 and newer—representing more than 96% of all vehicles on the road today. E15 can be found at over 3,400 gas stations across the country and to date, Americans have driven more than 100 billion miles on this fuel blend. Last summer drivers saved an average of 15 cents per gallon by filling up with E15 compared to regular, or E10. In some areas, E15 saved drivers as much as $.60 per gallon at the pump.

Learn more about E15 here.

ABOUT GROWTH ENERGY
Growth Energy is the leading voice of America’s biofuel industry. Our members operate and support biomanufacturing facilities at the heart of America’s bioeconomy, delivering a new generation of plant-based energy and climate solutions. For more information, visit us at GrowthEnergy.org, follow us on X (formerly Twitter) at @GrowthEnergy, or connect with us on Facebook.

 

ACE Reaction to Biden Administration Approval of E15 Year-Round for 8 Midwest States Beginning in 2025

Sioux Falls, SD – The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) today reacted to the Biden Administration’s decision to allow the sale of E15 year-round in eight Midwest states, but not until the summer of 2025. In April of 2022, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin petitioned EPA for this step to protect the air quality of their citizens, and by law, EPA should have taken action on the petitions in July of 2022.
“As the saying goes, ‘better late than never,’ but EPA had a legal responsibility to approve E15 year-round in these states more than a year and a half ago, so postponing the effective date to April 28, 2025 is disappointing,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “While we are grateful this issue will be settled in Midwest states with more than half the current E15 retail sites, our urgent priority is to find a solution for continued nationwide access to E15 this summer. The Administration rightfully exercised its authority to grant emergency waivers in 2022 and 2023, and we will be pushing for a solution covering the summer of 2024 as well.
“In addition, ACE continues to actively support bipartisan legislation in Congress, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, to permanently enable all Americans to benefit from the cost savings and cleaner emissions of E15. This legislation will be one of our priority issues during our March 14-15 DC fly-in.
“Finally, ACE applauds the persistence of the governors of the eight Midwest states for leading the charge on this effort, as well as Attorneys General for Iowa and Nebraska for keeping the administration’s feet to the fire.”
The governors petitioned EPA on April 28, 2022, to eliminate the 1-pound square inch (psi) Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver for gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol, essentially asking for E15 to be allowed year-round in their states. By law, the Agency was required to act by July 27, 2022, but didn’t issue a proposed rule to allow E15 year-round in the states until March 6, 2023. The Attorneys General for Iowa and Nebraska sued EPA over its delay on August 7, 2023, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. EPA’s rule was submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget in December of 2023 for inter-agency review. Today’s decision permanently approved E15 year-round in the eight states but delays implementation to April 28, 2025.

Corn Growers Welcome Decision by EPA on Access to Year-Round E15 While Calling for Legislation to Eliminate Nationwide Patchwork on Ethanol

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will grant the request by eight Midwestern governors to allow the year-round sale of fuel with a 15% ethanol blend, or E15, in their states beginning in the summer of 2025.

The announcement was welcomed by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), which has been fighting to break down barriers to the environmentally friendly biofuels.

“We are glad to hear this decision from EPA, as it puts us on the road to providing more certainty to America’s corn growers and consumers who will save money at the pump,” said NCGA President and Minnesota Farmer Harold Wolle. “However, given that this decision will not take effect until the summer of 2025, we question and are concerned about the implications of the timeline for growers and consumers this summer.”

The sale of E15 has been banned during the summer months to meet federal clean air standards that have been shown to be unnecessary and outdated. The U.S. EPA has granted waivers over the last few years to allow drivers continued access to environmentally friendly and affordable E15.

Even after today’s announcement, NCGA says a permanent legislative fix is still needed.

“While we are pleased with today’s decision, we still need a law that codifies access to higher levels of ethanol and that eliminates the patchwork of state regulations on the issue,” said Wolle. “That is why we are pushing for the passage of the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act in the Senate to solve this issue once and for all.”

 

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