EPA Proposes Expanded Sales of E15 Gasoline

The plan would allow for year-round sales of higher blend ethanol fuel in 8 states in the Midwest.

March 02, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Gasoline with higher blends of ethanol could be sold year-round in eight Midwestern states beginning in 2024 under a rule proposed Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency, the AP reports.The biofuels industry for years has pushed to allow sales of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol during the summer, which hasn’t been allowed because of concerns that it would worsen smog during hot weather.

“The industry and members of Congress welcomed the EPA’s proposal, which had been requested by governors in the eight states. But they questioned why the new rules couldn’t begin this summer,” according to the AP.

NACS has supported legislation that would provide a one-pound RVP waiver for E15 and continues to support a legislative fix to this problem. In November, NACS asked Congress to allow the year-round sale of E15. Absent a legislative solution, NACS supports EPA using its authority to grant a broader waiver for this summer, similar to the one granted last summer, rather than the eight-state proposal, which would complicate the fuels market.

Under the EPA's proposal, the higher blends could be sold during the summer in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is now blended with 10% ethanol, which is allowed throughout the year.

Nearly 40% of the nation’s corn crop is used to produce ethanol. As more ethanol goes into gas tanks, demand for corn should increase and prices for the commodity paid to farmers should also rise.

The American Coalition for Ethanol said in a statement that the group appreciated the EPA’s proposal but argued there was no reason to wait until 2024. The group accused the agency of delaying the action because of pressure from the petroleum industry.

Reuters reports that the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, an oil trade group, said that implementing a new fuel blend in select states in 2024 would create issues, including leaving the Midwest region with tighter fuel supplies during the peak summer driving season.

However, members of the biofuel industry say E15 saves consumers money. Drivers saved an average of 16 cents per gallon this past summer because of E15, said Growth Energy Chief Executive Emily Skor.

NACS Magazine looked at ethanol and other biofuels’ role in emission reductions in “Biofuels in the Mix” in October 2022.