Year-round E15 is good news for producers and the RFA
By Diego Flammini
U.S. corn producers and the country’s renewable fuels industry received good news from the president today.
President Trump announced in Council Bluffs, Iowa, that his administration would end the summertime ban on gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, known as E15, reports indicate.
The Environmental Protection Agency prohibits sales of E15 from the beginning of June to the middle of September due to potential smog issues. The blend also does not meet ozone requirements in the Clean Air Act. People filling up their vehicles with gasoline during the seasonal ban usually use E10, which is a blend of gasoline with 10 percent ethanol content.
Drivers could fill up with E15 as early as next summer. The blend is permitted in the winter because it helps prevent gas lines from freezing.
Corn growers are pleased with news of the president’s actions.
The ethanol industry used about 5.28 billion bushels of U.S. corn in 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy says.
Year-round E15 means farmers have more opportunities to market their crops, said Curt Mether, an Iowa corn producer and president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
“We’re really excited about this announcement,” he told Farms.com. “This is something we’ve been working on for almost a year now, so it’s nice to see our work come to fruition.
“The extra 5 percent of ethanol in the gasoline could use upwards of two billion bushels of corn, which is great for all U.S. corn farmers.”
Blending E15 year-round also makes operations easier for gas companies who will not have to worry about switching back and forth, Mether said.
The renewable fuels sector is also optimistic about President Trump’s announcement.
“This is the right signal to the marketplace at just the right time, as both farmers and renewable fuel producers desperately need new market opportunities and sources of demand,” Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said in a statement today.
The new E15 ruling isn’t universally welcomed, however.
A group of about 20 senators (16 Republicans and four Democrats), signed a letter asking the president not to lift the ban.
“A one-sided approach to addressing concerns related to the Renewable Fuel Standard that favors only one industry stakeholder is misguided,” Thursday’s letter says.