White House: E15 an ‘option’ to alleviate high gas prices

Source: By Spencer Chase, Agri-Pulse • Posted: Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Farm groups and their Capitol Hill champions calling for action to allow year-round sales of E15 as a way to lessen the blow of rising gas prices got a signal — albeit a very noncommittal one — Tuesday that the White House was at least considering the idea.

Pressed for the administration’s view on lifting a ban on the summertime sales of E15, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday the move would be “in the menu of options” under discussion.

Speaking more broadly about gas prices, Psaki said White House officials “are working overtime right now to evaluate and examine a range of domestic adoptions that continue to be on the table.” She said the administration is also engaging “with global suppliers about what can be done to ensure that the supply in the market meets the demand, thus bringing the price down.”

Gas prices have risen sharply since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Russia is a major oil exporter and currently faces a ban on selling its oil onto U.S. shores.

The Trump administration took regulatory action in 2019 to lift a barrier to sales of E15 from June through September due to fuel volatility regulations, but an appeals court unanimously repealed that move in July, saying the “plain text” of the Clean Air Act prohibited lifting an existing waiver for blends of ethanol higher than 10%.

Despite the previous regulatory and legal issues the E15 summer ban has faced, biofuels groups are urging the Biden administration to exercise emergency authority to allow the fuel to be sold this summer. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters Tuesday he would support such a move.

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