Emergency waiver allows summer sales of E15

Photo courtesy of Whitehouse.gov

From staff reports

President Joe Biden made a big announcement this week in Iowa at a POET ethanol plant. He has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to issue an emergency waiver that will allow the sale of E15 in fuel pumps this summer. EPA plans to have the waiver in place by June 1, according to the White House. EPA has the authority to issue emergency waivers in certain circumstances. “It’s our understanding President Biden is using that authority to issue an emergency waiver for this summer,” Geoff Cooper, CEO and president of the Renewable Fuels Association. “We still have a need for a permanent resolution when we get into 2023.”

In making the announcement, Biden said that issuing this emergency waiver would lead to less reliance on foreign oil and allow customers to have a lower cost fuel option at the pump. Biden noted the average price for E15 is about 10 cents cheaper than E10 blends. Biden also said that more ethanol use falls in line with his goal of hitting net zero emissions by the year 2050.

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, said communication needs to continue between the biofuels industry and the Biden administration on the White House goals for the environment, especially reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Biofuels can be used with today’s cars. You don’t need a new auto fleet or infrastructure,” Skor said. “It’s more affordable for today’s drivers. It’s lower carbon than fossil fuels. So, we’re an immediate solution, and today’s announcement recognizes that we’re an immediate solution in today’s marketplace.”

Year-round sales of E15 was first approved by the Trump administration, but a federal appeals court overturned that in a ruling in 2019. The U.S. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that the Reid-vapor pressure waiver rule allowing E10 did not apply to E15. The Trump administration had determined that E10 and E15 were similar fuels. However, the court said that the Reid-vapor pressure is regulation over fuel volatility and that E10 and E15 are not rated the same.  

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