ALEXANDRIA, Va.—In a letter sent to U.S. Senate and House leadership, a broad coalition of energy and agriculture organizations called on Congress to quickly adopt legislation that would resolve inconsistent fuel volatility regulations.
Specifically, the groups expressed support for legislation that would result in equal regulatory treatment for all gasoline blends containing 10% ethanol (E10) or more, including gasoline with 15% ethanol (E15). Such legislation would permanently remove the regulatory barrier that has historically made it difficult for retailers to offer E15 in the summertime.
The letter, sent to Senate Leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, was signed by NACS, along with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Petroleum Institute, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, NATSO, Renewable Fuels Association and SIGMA: America's Leading Fuel Marketers
“Due to the current policy, it is extremely difficult for many fuel marketers and retailers that may desire to offer E15 to their customers in the summer months to source that product,” according to the letter. “Our groups have come together—for the first time ever—to support legislation that would resolve this issue once and for all.”
The groups are advocating for a simple legislative fix that would provide equal treatment nationwide to all gasoline blends containing 10% ethanol or more, while simultaneously superseding state regulatory action recently sought by a group of governors.
“By ensuring uniformity across the nation’s fuel supply chain, federal legislation will provide more flexibility and result in more consistent outcomes than a state-by-state regulatory landscape,” the letter says.
“In the absence of such legislation, we could see gasoline marketplace uncertainty and political disputes over E15 that would continue to resurface every summer. Thus, we urge Congress to act quickly to adopt legislation that will bring certainty and consistency to the fuel market, while also finally resolving long-standing differences among many stakeholders about fuel volatility regulations.”
In September, Reuters reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was looking to enact a rule as quickly as possible that would allow the year-round sale of higher-ethanol gasoline, or E15. EPA Administrator Michael Regan said during remarks at the Growth Energy Biofuels Summit that the agency hopes to finalize the rule before next summer.
In April, the White House announced plans to temporarily allow high-ethanol content gasoline to be sold during the summer in an effort to curb high gas prices. The EPA allowed E15 to be sold between June 1 and September 15.
NACS had asked the EPA to authorize the year-round sale of E15 prior to the announcement.
“This common-sense step would provide much-needed price relief at the pump while enhancing America’s energy security and improving gasoline’s emissions characteristics,” wrote NACS, along with NATSO and SIGMA, in a letter to the EPA. “Allowing the year-round sale of E15 in all parts of the country would help enhance supply and lower prices for all American fuel consumers.”