Lawmakers seek to expand market for biofuels year-round

Lawmakers seek to expand market for biofuels year-round
Jul 16, 2021

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Bipartisan bills have been introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

U.S. lawmakers are working to ensure fuel retailers can sell E15 year-round.

Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) recently reintroduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act.

If passed, this bill would extend the Reid vapor pressure volatility waiver to ethanol blends higher than 10 percent.

This action follows a U.S. Court of Appeals decision from earlier in the month when it reversed a June 2019 rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing year-round sales of E15.

The court ruled the EPA had overstepped its authority.

In 2019, U.S. farmers produced about 13.66 billion bushels of corn. Of those, about 5.38 billion were used to make ethanol, the U.S. Department of Energy says.

Biofuels help farmers market grain and help with lowering greenhouse emissions.

Allowing year-round sales of E15 is good for America, Senator Klobuchar said.

“For the past three years, we’ve seen that making E15 gasoline accessible to drivers year-round is good for drivers, farmers, and the environment,” she said in a statement. “It’s critical that we pass this bipartisan legislation to continue this progress and stay on the path to a greener future.”

A similar bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Reps. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) introduced the Year-Round Fuel Choice Act.

This proposed piece of legislation would let the EPA grant waivers to allow year-round sales of E15.

“It’s long past time that the year-round sale of these renewable fuels was made permanent, expanding the market for lower-cost, lower-carbon fuel choices all across America,” Rep. Craig said in a statement.

Agriculture and renewable fuel groups support both bills.

Having year-round E15 available helps ensure oil companies can’t monopolize the gasoline market, said John Linder, president of the National Corn Growers Association.

“Corn growers stand behind the many benefits of higher ethanol blends like E15 and support ensuring its continued access to the marketplace on the same terms as standard ten percent blends,” he said in a statement. “E15 is lower in carbon, tailpipe and evaporative emissions, not to mention lower in price, so it’s no surprise oil companies have tried to shut it down.”

“E15 is the lower-cost, lower-carbon, American-made solution that our country needs right now,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

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