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Ethanol bodies welcome Trump's E15 announcement

In the United States (US), ethanol trade associations the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy both applaud the announcement October 9 by President Donald Trump that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is beginning a formal rulemaking process to allow year-round sales of E15 nationwide. Under the current regulations, E15 – gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol – cannot be sold during the summer months in most of the country.

On June 23, 2011, the US EPA finalised regulations to help prevent misfueling of vehicles, engines, and equipment not covered by the partial waiver decisions. These regulations require all E15 fuel dispensers to have a label that informs consumers about what vehicles can, and what vehicles and equipment cannot use E15 (image courtesy RFA).

According to the RFA, the de facto summertime ban on E15 is the result of a burdensome, decades-old regulation that offers no environmental or economic benefit whatsoever. Eliminating the summertime barrier to E15 will save consumers money and reduce emissions, enhance competition, and provide a boost to the farm economy.

Securing fair market access for E15 and other higher blends has been our top regulatory priority for several years, and we are pleased that the first official step in this process is being taken. When markets are open and competitive, American consumers win. We thank President Trump for formally initiating the process to eliminate this antiquated, red-tape laden regulation, and look forward to the full resolution of this issue before next summer’s driving season. This is the right signal to the marketplace at just the right time, as both farmers and renewable fuel producers desperately need new market opportunities and sources of demand, said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper.

Currently, retailers throughout most of the country are prohibited from offering E15 to drivers during the summer months, costing consumers an opportunity to save up to 10 cents per gallon. In addition, fuel retailers must pay to retool and relabel their product offerings each year, creating confusion among drivers and holding back other retailers from embracing new options at the pump.

We thank President Trump for delivering on his promise to rural America by lifting the summer restriction on E15 sales. He answered the call from American farmers by removing the single most important barrier to growth in higher biofuel blends. This announcement is great news for farmers, biofuel workers, retailers and consumers everywhere who want to enjoy cleaner, more affordable options at the fuel pump. This is a critical step toward giving American motorists higher-octane options at a lower cost all year long said Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy.

In 2011, EPA approved the use of E15 in all light-duty vehicles built in 2001 or later, meaning more than 90 percent of the cars and trucks on the road today are legally approved to use the fuel. E15 is available at more than 1 300 retail stations in 29 states, and it is expected that elimination of the summertime ban will result in rapid expansion of the availability of E15 nationwide.

We appreciate this announcement by President Trump and we look forward to working with the Administration to allow consumers access to lower-cost, cleaner-burning E15 all year long in 2019. We also are grateful to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for his commendable efforts to secure fair regulatory treatment for E15 and higher blends, and we are eager to work with EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler as his team initiates the rulemaking process, said Neil Koehler, CEO of Pacific Ethanol and RFA Chairman.

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