Trump Set to Allow Year-Round Sale of E15 Fuel

President appears to be catering to corn farmers.

by on Oct.09, 2018

President Donald Trump is expected to lift the summer time sales ban on E15 gasoline, allowing year-round sales.

President Donald Trump is looking to make farmers happy, corn farmers anyway, with plans to remove the ethanol restriction on gasoline and allow E15 blends to be sold year-round.

Currently, the blend is banned between June 1 and Sept. 15 each year because of concerns that the special blend combines with the higher summer temps to produce smog. Advocates for ethanol claim the charge is unfounded.

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E15 contains 15% ethanol while most gasolines are already made up of 10% ethanol. 

A senior administration official said Monday that the EPA will publish a rule in coming days to allow high-ethanol blends as part of a package of proposed changes to the ethanol mandate, according to the Associated Press.

(Trump facing latest tough call: corn or oil. Click Here for the story.)

The announcement, which is expected to be made during Trump’s trip to Iowa later this week, isn’t a surprise. In May, Republican senators reached a tentative deal with the White House to allow year-round E15 sales, but the Environmental Protection Agency did not propose a formal rule change.

Allowing year-round E15 sales is expected to be partnered with new restrictions on trading biofuel credits that underpin the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, known as the ethanol mandate, the AP reported. The law sets out how much corn-based ethanol and other renewable fuels refiners must blend into gasoline each year.

President Obama's renewable fuels requirements had oil companies seeing red.

The Renewable Fuel Standard was designed to tackle several issues, including global warming, dependence on foreign oil and bolstering the rural economy by requiring a steady increase in renewable fuels over time.

(Click Here for details about Trump’s plans for EVs.)

However, it hasn’t really made the grade as production levels of renewable fuels, mostly ethanol, routinely fail to reach minimum thresholds set in law, AP reported.

On top of that, it’s just the environmental lobby that opposes year-round sales of E15, the oil industry does too. It claims high-ethanol gasoline can damage car engines and fuel systems. Some car makers have warned against high-ethanol blends, although EPA has approved use of E15 in all light-duty vehicles built since 2001.

A group of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle sent Trump a letter last week opposing the move, saying the move would do nothing to protect refinery jobs and “could hurt millions of consumers whose vehicles and equipment are not compatible with higher-ethanol blended gasoline.”

(Change coming to auto industry. Click Here for more.)

The letter was signed by 16 Republicans and four Democrats, including Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a key Trump ally. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, whose state includes several refineries, also signed the letter, according to the report.

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