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Gas Stations, Ethanol Producers, Corn Growers Applaud EPA for Allowing Access to Higher Blends of Ethanol During Summer Months

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will use its existing authority to prevent drivers from losing access to lower-cost and lower-emission E15, a higher ethanol blend often marketed as Unleaded 88.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and state corn grower organizations, which have advocated for the move, praised the decision

“This waiver is good news for corn growers and those in rural America who will benefit economically from this decision and for consumers who will save money at the pump during a busy travel season,” said Minnesota farmer and NCGA President Harold Wolle. “We are deeply appreciative of EPA Administrator Regan, President Biden and our congressional allies for all their work on this issue.”

Under current policy, E15 cannot be sold at terminals beginning on May 1 and at retail stations starting on June 1. But the Clean Air Act gives EPA authority to temporarily waive these requirements to address pressing concerns, such as fuel shortages.

“We are thankful for the granting of the summertime waiver so drivers can continue to choose the higher blend of ethanol said Andrew Mauch, North Dakota Corn Growers Association (NDCGA) President and corn producer from Mooreton, ND. “We are still working towards a nationwide year-round E15 policy, and we think that is likely to eventually happen,” added Mauch.

Eight Midwest states were granted waivers earlier this year for year-round E15 access. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum had been included on that request as well but subsequently withdrew from the petition to EPA before it was granted.  Mauch added, “Like those eight neighboring states, North Dakota’s residents also deserve to have year-round access to fuel that is not only lower cost per mile than traditional fossil fuel-based gas. And it’s at least 40 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner burning and better for the environment. It also allows our country to be more energy independent and supports North Dakotas agriculture economy that all of our communities depend on.”

Tracey Olson, COO of Guardian Energy Hankinson and President of the North Dakota Ethanol Producers Association said today,” We are grateful for the EPA issuance of the emergency waiver for summertime E15.  The waiver allows consumers to continue to use higher ethanol blends at lower costs while reducing emissions and supporting the local agriculture industry.  We can’t stop here.  We must continue to work towards a national year around solution to avoid uncertainty in the market.”

The war in Ukraine, disruptions to key trade routes and inflation have raised concerns among many in the Biden administration and in Congress about high gas prices and energy security.

Higher blends of ethanol have been shown to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while lowering the price of fuels and the biofuels reduce America’s need for foreign oil.

“We sell a lot of ethanol,” said Kent Satrang, CEO of West Fargo based Petro Serve USA, whose company operates 32 fuel stations across Minnesota and North Dakota.  “We are proud to support the corn farmer and the ethanol producers who make this biofuel possible for our customers,” added Satrang. “And this emergency waiver will allow us to continue offering the less costly and more environmentally beneficial higher E15 blend during the summer driving season. It’s a win for everyone.”

NCGA is working with allies, including the petroleum industry, on federal legislation that would provide permanent, year-round access to E15.

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