November 30, 2022

Durbin, Duckworth cosponsor Senate bill to allow year-round E15 sales

Source: Farmweek Now


A bipartisan group of 15 Corn Belt senators has introduced legislation that would permit nationwide summer sales of E15 and other higher ethanol blend fuels.

U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022 on Tuesday. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, and Tammy Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates, are among the bill's cosponsors.

The bill would largely make a regulatory change in the Clean Air Act's fuel volatility language to allow year-round sales of ethanol blends higher than 10%. 

It comes ahead of a Nov. 30 deadline for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to file a rule to set three years of volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. 

"... We’ve been able to bring critical oil/gas, biofuel, ag, and transportation stakeholders to the table around a common-sense solution," Fischer said in a statement. "With this strong coalition of support, it’s time Congress act to make year-round E15 a reality."

More than a dozen national ag, biofuel, oil and transportation groups support the bill, including the American Petroleum Institute, Renewable Fuel Association, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Association of Truck Stop Operators. 

Many of those same organizations sent a joint letter Nov. 21 to the four party leaders in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, calling for a bill that would codify year-round E15 sales. 

"For the first time in history, ethanol producers, oil refiners, fuel retailers, equipment manufacturers, and farmers have all come together to support legislation that ensures American families can choose lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 at the pump every single day of the year without interruption,” RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper said in a statement thanking the Senators.

The U.S. House passed a similar bill in June, called the "Lower Food and Fuels Cost Act," which also would allow year-round E15 sales. 

Fuel volatility language in the Clean Air Act currently prevents E15 from being sold in the summer, but the law does allow a waiver from Reid Vapor Pressure rules for E10.

The Trump administration tried to extend that waiver to E15 and was blocked by a federal court, while the Biden administration used a national emergency waiver — tied to the war in Ukraine — to allow sales of E15 earlier this year.

Seven consecutive E15 waivers were issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) May 1 through Sept. 15, when the summer volatility control period ended.

By:  Timothy Eggert