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New legislation from House & Senate to help ethanol industry

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Yesterday, both the House and the Senate introduced legislation that would support the ethanol industry by ensuring year-round availability of ethanol blends higher than E10. 

This comes after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a 2019 rule by the Environmental Protection Agency that lifted outdated restrictions on the summertime sale of E15, a cleaner burning fuel approved for 95% of cars on the road. This legislation would permanently extend the 1.0 psi summertime Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends beyond E10, thus eliminating any seasonal restrictions on sales.

In the Senate, the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act was introduced by Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) to ensure the continued availability of low-carbon fifteen percent ethanol fuel blends (E15) in all fuel markets year-round.

In the House, Year-Round Fuel Choice Act was introduced by Representatives Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) to ensure the continued availability of low-carbon fifteen percent ethanol fuel blends (E15) in all fuel markets year-round.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said, “As this country works to address climate change, we must embrace ready solutions that can be implemented today to immediately reduce our carbon emissions in our current auto fleet. This legislation comes at a critical time on the heels of a court ruling that would allow the oil industry to monopolize the gas tank and push aside low-carbon renewable fuels. We will continue to work with our congressional champions to see this legislation through, and fight to give Americans an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment by filling up on earth friendly fuel blends like E15.”

Background

In June 2019, the Trump Administration’s EPA revised its interpretation of a provision of the Clean Air Act that grants a 1.0 psi summertime waiver of Reid vapor pressure (RVP) requirements. In doing so, EPA allowed drivers to access cleaner, more affordable biofuel blends like E15 year-round.

On July 2, 2021, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled this interpretation, arguing that the word “contains 10 percent” in the relevant RVP statutory text does not extend the 1.0 psi RVP waiver from E10 to E15, thus limiting sales of E15 in conventional fuel areas during the summer, affecting 85% of current E15 fuel retailers across the country.

Beyond environmental benefits, moving to nationwide E15 would add $17.8 billion to the GDP, create 182,600 new jobs, save households a total of $10.5 billion, and save $12.2 billion in fuel costs. This biofuel is currently approved for use in cars model year 2001 and newer and is available at over 2,460 retail sites in 30 states. To date, Americans have logged over 22 billion miles with E15.

“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. 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 through the courts,” said John Linder, National Corn Growers Association President.

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