The rise of higher blends like E15, E30, and E85 in our nation’s fuel supply provides more choices at the pump, lowers gas prices, and improves air quality. At Growth Energy, we’re committed to expanding access to biofuels, like ethanol, for drivers across the country, and restoring access to E15 year-round.
In a landmark moment for biofuels, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the sale of year-round E15 in 2019. However, due to a July 2021 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that rolled back the rule, the majority of American drivers could be denied access to a cleaner, more affordable biofuel blend during the summer months.
If not addressed, the court’s decision would require E15 retailers to change out fuels twice a year (on June 1 and September 15), a costly and burdensome process that actually increases GHG emissions, counter to Congress’ intent of providing cleaner fuel choices at the pump.
Growth Energy’s top priority is ensuring uninterrupted access to lower-cost E15 this summer, but a permanent fix is needed before the 2022 summer driving season. Congress can put an end to the oil industry’s efforts to limit consumer access to higher blends of renewable fuels by permanently extending the 1.0 psi summertime RVP waiver to ethanol blends beyond E10.
This decision could impact all non-reformulated gasoline markets, or markets outside of urban areas that are not required to participate in our nation’s reformulated gasoline program. Non-reforumalated gas markets, also known as conventional markets, can be found in 33 states. In these areas, summer sales of E15 in retail sites could fall by 85%, but new restrictions would also cut overall consumption and increase greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.
This decision has no impact on long-standing rules that permit sales of E15 in RFG and other markets, which are found in 17 states. However, the largest concentration of RFG markets is in California and the Northeast, where the availability of E15 is already limited.
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 98% of registered vehicles on the road can use E15, confirming that there’s significant potential to expand biofuels across the liquid fuel supply. Programs such as USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program are a prime example of how we can continue to expand biofuels across the country. The program aims to increase market access for higher blends of ethanol by investing in infrastructure improvements at retail gas stations across the country.
Growth Energy strongly support USDA’s commitment towards higher blend rates outlined in its Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA): E15 by 2030 and E30 by 2050. Our industry is ready to provide the fuel necessary to meet those goals, but infrastructure incentives for our retailers, like the competitive grant structure under HBIIP, will be critical to achieving those goals.
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