The National Corn Growers Association today applauded members of the House and Senate for reintroducing legislation that would provide a permanent, nationwide solution to ensure uninterrupted market access for low-cost, low-emission E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88.
Led by Sens. Deb Fischer (Neb.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Reps. Angie Craig (Minn.), Adrian Smith (Neb.) and Dusty Johnson (S.D.), 35 bipartisan Senate and House members introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which has again drawn support from a wide range of agriculture, fuel and retail stakeholders.
“The choice of cleaner and less expensive E15 at the pump saves drivers millions of dollars a year and increases the fuel supply to improve our energy security,” said Tom Haag, National Corn Growers Association President. “We thank these bipartisan members of Congress for once again leading on this needed solution to resolve an outdated barrier to consumer choice. There’s no reason for market access to a safe, clean and affordable fuel option to remain in question, and we urge Congress to pass this commonsense legislation.”
Despite EPA approving E15 for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles, 96 percent of vehicles now on the road, and a 2019 update to regulations, a 2021 court decision would have ended year-round market access to E15 last summer without the Biden administration using emergency authority to keep E15 in the market. The administration’s temporary action increased the fuel supply and reduced fuel prices, but fuel choice is again in question for 2023, even though E15 has now been available year-round for consumers the past four years.
Most recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed to implement a plan from eight Midwest governors to require lower-volatility gasoline in their states aimed at ensuring drivers in those states continue to have year-round access to fuel with 15 percent ethanol. However, EPA has proposed to delay implementation until 2024.
NCGA supported the governors’ plan and expressed serious concern over the one-year delay in implementation and the market uncertainty the delay creates for 2023. NCGA also supported the recent bipartisan request from 17 U.S. Senators to President Biden, asking him to direct EPA to again use the agency’s existing authority to increase the fuel supply through uninterrupted access to E15 this summer.
Last year, as the nation faced fuel supply challenges, President Biden directed EPA to use existing agency authority to prevent a disruption in E15 availability between June 1 and Sept. 15. As a result, continued availability of E15 increased the nation’s fuel supply and saved drivers an average of 16 cents per gallon nationwide during those three months, for a total savings of $57 million.
“We urge the Biden administration to use this existing authority to keep this fuel choice in the market and increase the fuel supply, but we also call on Congress to resolve this fuel market uncertainty once and for all by passing the legislation introduced today,” said Haag.
Retailers have increased availability of E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88, to offer consumers choice and lower fuel costs, as well as increase the fuel supply. Ensuring continued E15 sales year-round keeps a lower-emission fuel choice in the marketplace that costs less. E15 cuts evaporative, carbon and tailpipe emissions compared to standard 10 percent ethanol blended fuels. Blending more ethanol to make E15 displaces more toxic components in gasoline, reducing exhaust emissions for cleaner air.