Today, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) and its state and national partners once again called on the Biden administration to allow for uninterrupted E15 sales this summer.
In a letter, MCGA President Richard Syverson, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Tom Haag, and other state corn growers association presidents urged immediate action by the administration.
They said higher ethanol blends save drivers money at the pump and E15 reduces carbon, tailpipe, and evaporative emissions compared to regular unleaded fuel. They also noted how drivers will lose access to this lower-cost, lower emission fuel at a time when demand is highest without action by the administration.
“When it comes to cost, blending more ethanol is an immediate step to help lower fuel prices,” they wrote. “Ethanol adds billions of gallons to our fuel supply every year, lowering demand for high-cost oil while increasing total fuel available to consumers. Using more homegrown ethanol reduces the impact of global energy disruptions.”
Farmers aren’t the only ones asking the administration to allow E15 sales this summer. In a letter last month, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and a group of midwestern governors urged the administration to grant an emergency waiver for summer 2023. They said that market conditions that justified last summer’s emergency action still exist today.
Often marketed as Unleaded 88 because of its mid-grade octane rating, E15 is a 15% biofuel blend that’s approved for cars, trucks, and SUVs model year 2001 and newer. In 2022 in Minnesota, E15 averaged 17 cents less per gallon than regular unleaded, according to the state Department of Commerce.
The ban on year-round E15 sales comes from an outdated regulation that doesn’t have anything to do with the safety or quality of the fuel. To address this outdated barrier, the Trump administration in 2019 used its rulemaking authority to allow for year-round E15 sales. Unfortunately, in response to a challenge by oil interests, a 2021 court decision reversed full market access for E15.
First and foremost, MCGA, NCGA and other state corn growers associations continue to advocate for federal legislation that would ensure parity between E15 and regular unleaded. Bills that would ensure parity include:
- the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which has support from by 42 bipartisan U.S. House and Senate members, including U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and U.S. Reps. Angie Craig, Brad Finstad, and Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota.
- The Next Generation Fuels Act, which would establish a clean, high-octane standard for fuel and require that sources of additional octane result in at least 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. In Minnesota, the bill has support from Sen. Klobuchar and Reps. Craig and Finstad.
Grower-leaders are also asking members of Congress to support the immediate implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to allow eight states, including Minnesota, to provide year-round E15 sales. The agency is delaying implementation of the plan until 2024, a move that could halt E15’s momentum in Minnesota.
To read the latest ethanol policy updates, visit the Minnesota Corn blog.