Lawmakers Request Biofuel Regulation Easing to Lower Gas Prices

Source: By Emily Wilkins, Bloomberg • Posted: Sunday, April 3, 2022

Bipartisan group makes ask in letter to White House Say changes will help lower gas prices, boost the economy

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is asking the Biden administration to ease two regulations on biofuels to help reduce pain at the pump.

In a letter set to be sent to the White House that was shared first with Bloomberg Government, 29 lawmakers write that the requested changes would “significantly increase U.S. energy independence, lower prices at the pump and ensure the continued success of our sanctions on the Russian economy.”

The House members are asking the EPA to allow a fuel blend that is 15% ethanol, known as E15, to be available year-round. Currently, E15 cannot be sold in conventional markets between June 1 and Sept. 15.

They also want the EPA to reverse course on a plan to retroactively lower the amount of biofuels that U.S. oil refiners are required to add into their fuel mix. The agency proposed it as a way to help oil refiners affected by Covid-19, according to their proposed rule.

With the midterm elections ahead, it’s a notable bipartisan agreement on one move the government can make to address skyrocketing gas prices amid inflation and the war in Ukraine. It comes as President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon about the administration’s efforts to lower gas prices.

Read More: Biden Team Weighs a Massive Release of Oil to Combat Inflation

Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is asking the White House to ease biofuel regulations in an effort to help lower gas prices.

Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) said she’s seen the effect biofuels can have at the pump in her district, where one gas station sold E15 for 80 cents per gallon cheaper than regular unleaded.

“Gas prices have continued to go up,” she said. “We have an opportunity to make sure that folks have a choice at the pump.”

Most of the 11 Democrats and 18 Republicans who signed the letter hail from Midwestern states where an increase in biofuel production could mean additional jobs and economic growth.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said more biofuels would be a “win-win-win” for gas prices as well as the agriculture industry.

“Right now, we have an energy crisis,” Bacon said. “And I think biofuels is not the only answer, but it’s one of the tools in our toolkit.”

The push for the White House to act comes as Democratic House leaders discuss a wide range of bills focused on reducing gas prices. Options on the table include a holiday from the federal gas tax, a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, and export controls, said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“They’re all on the table,” he said, adding that some make more sense than others. “What we want to understand is, what has the support to get done?”

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Wilkins in Washington at ewilkins@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kyle Trygstad at ktrygstad@bloombergindustry.com; Bennett Roth at broth@bgov.com

|