Biofuel under review

Source: BY CATHERINE MOREHOUSE, Politico • Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2022

EPA is reviewing the potential to allow summer-time sales of E15 fuel amid the spike in fuel prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two people familiar told ME. Reuters first reported on Wednesday that the Biden administration is considering temporarily removing the restrictions on the blends of up to 15 percent ethanol. And one of the people told ME that EPA’s Office of General Counsel is specifically considering its options available to facilitate the summer-time sale of E15.

The White House  already signaled earlier this month it was looking at lifting the ban to bring down the price of gasoline, though it offered no other specifics. EPA press secretary Nick Conger did not comment on the reports Wednesday, but said in a statement that the agency is “considering a range of options across the Administration to help mitigate impacts from Russia’s actions on American consumers.”

The news is sure to please ethanol advocates and corn-state lawmakers who have called on the president to use his authority to lift the summer-time restrictions in a bid to give consumers access to lower cost fuel — particularly after an appeals court last year vacated the Trump-era rule that extended the sale of E15. Bipartisan senators earlier this month, led by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), also wrote to the White House on the issue. “Restoring year-round E15 would provide American drivers with a cleaner, lower-cost fuel option,” Thune added Wednesday evening.

American Petroleum Institute Vice President of Downstream Policy Ron Chittim, however, said in a response that there “is no clear pathway for EPA to establish year-round sales of E15.”