Senators urge Biden to enable year-round sales of E15

Source: By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2022

A bipartisan group of 16 senators, led by Sens. John Tune, R-S.D., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., sent a letter to President Biden on March 9 urging him to help curb rising domestic energy costs by enabling year-round sales of E15.

The senators specifically request that Biden utilize any administrative authority to permit the sale of E15 fuel over the 2022 summer driving season by extending the 1-psi Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to E15. Extending the RVP waiver to E15 would allow sales of the fuel blend to continue from June 1 through Sept. 15.

“As the U.S. joins global partners in seeking to hold accountable and isolate the Russian Federation for tis unprovoked assault on Ukraine, we must deny Russia’s economic lifeblood of energy dominance,” the senators wrote. “This will require tapping every accessible contribution of American energy techno0logy. As you know, American biofuel are one such readily available energy solution that offer consumers affordable and cleaner options at the pump. Wholesale ethanol has recently traded for approximately $1.20 cheaper than gasoline per gallon, a discount that is passed on to consumers and amplified in higher blends like E15, E30 and E85.”

“Additionally, higher blends of biofuels as well as biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, displace a greater share of imported oil each time they are chosen by consumers,” they continued. “Preserving the option for American drivers to select E15 throughout the busy summer driving season will benefit our families and businesses while blunting a vital source of funding for Vladimir Putin’s campaign of destruction. Additionally, committing to this policy now will send an important signal of certainty and stability to fuel retailers currently or considering selling E15 in the year ahead.”

In addition to Thune and Durbin, the letter is signed by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; M. Michael Rounds, R-S.D.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Tina Smith, D-Minn.; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; and Roger Marshall, R-Kan.

Several representatives of the ethanol industry have spoken out in support of the letter and urging the White House to take action.

The Renewable Fuels Association thanked the senators for urging action on year-round E15. “As American families continue to experience unprecedented pain at the pump, we thank these Senators for encouraging the Administration to embrace homegrown renewable fuels as a lower-cost, lower-carbon alternative to Russian petroleum imports,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “Ethanol is $1 per gallon cheaper than gasoline today, meaning higher blends like E15 can immediately help put a lid on surging gas prices and deliver immediate economic relief to households across the country. The emergency action recommended by these Senators would remove a key roadblock that restricts consumer access to lower-priced E15, and we encourage EPA to immediately act upon this request.”

Growth Energy also commended the senators for their support of year-round E15. “The message from both sides of the aisle in Congress is clear – we need more homegrown, low-carbon solutions to address rising gas prices and shield American drivers from the continued volatility in the global oil market,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Biofuels are a ready solution to help provide consumers with lower costs at the pump. We welcome Sen. Thune and Sen. Durbin’s bipartisan letter to President Biden calling for increased access to higher blends of biofuels, like E15, across the nation and throughout the year to displace a greater share of imported oil.”

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Thune’s website.