The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today 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 proposed to delay implementation until 2024.
The National Corn Growers Association supported the governors’ plan and expressed serious concern over the one-year delay in implementation and the market uncertainty the delay creates for E15 in 2023.
“These governors took the initiative and used authority under the law to ensure their consumers could maintain access to low-cost, low-emissions E15,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “These governors did the right thing, but EPA’s proposal delays this solution. Higher ethanol blends lower emissions, save drivers money and allow for consumer choice. With the proposed delay in implementation, we now urge EPA to use existing authority to prevent a disruption in E15 availability this summer.”
EPA approved 15 percent ethanol blends, or E15, in 2011 for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles, which account for more than 96 percent of vehicles on the road today. 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. E15 has been sold year-round for the past four years, but outdated regulatory barriers continue to hinder permanent full-market access to E15.
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.
In April of 2022, several Midwest governors informed EPA of their decision on lower-volatility gasoline. The Clean Air Act gives governors the authority to act on these matters as they consider their states’ consumers and air quality. The Act gives EPA 90 days to approve the governors’ plans. However, EPA took 10 months to issue the proposal, which now includes a delay in implementation until 2024.
On Tuesday, 17 U.S. senators called on President Biden to direct EPA to again use the agency’s existing authority to allow for the continued use of E15 through this summer. NCGA supports the senators’ request and strongly urges EPA to use its authority to increase the fuel supply through uninterrupted access to E15.