Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following remarks in response to a new proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that addresses a petition from Midwest governors seeking to ensure that retailers in those states can continue to offer year-round access to E15—a blend of gasoline and 15 percent ethanol. The draft rule offered by EPA would not take effect until 2024.
“We are pleased to see EPA make progress on the request submitted last year by Governors Reynolds, Evers, Noem, Pritzker, Walz, DeWine, and Parson, as well as former Governor Ricketts and with the support of Nebraska Governor Pillen. We are grateful to EPA Administrator Regan for his steadfast efforts to preserve access to affordable, domestic biofuels, but we’re disappointed that the EPA’s proposal doesn’t provide a fix for 2023 and the coming summer driving season.
“There’s no denying that the simplest, best solution to unnecessary and outdated restrictions on year-round access to E15 is a permanent, federal legislative fix. American families need the cost savings that E15 provides. Ethanol producers need a robust fuel market to reliably make new investments that create jobs and lower carbon emissions. Retailers need marketplace certainty to fully commit to offering this fuel choice to their customers. Securing parity between E10 and E15 nationwide would address all three of these concerns.
“American drivers have been able to purchase E15 every summer since 2019, and this summer should be no different. EPA can ensure that access continues in 2023, and should take whatever steps are necessary to do so, including through the use of an emergency waiver.
“EPA has nothing to lose by providing such a fix, and the country has everything to gain. First and foremost, we need E15 in 2023 so consumers can save money every time they fuel up at the pump. Drivers saved an average of 16 cents per gallon this past summer thanks to E15 – and many saved even more, up to nearly a dollar per gallon. Working families don’t want to lose access to their favorite lower-carbon, lower-cost option on June 1.
“Additionally, the conditions that drove EPA to issue its first emergency waiver in summer 2022 are still impacting fuel markets. The war in Ukraine continues to affect the global supply chain and international oil prices. Granting a waiver or finding some other solution for this year would again decrease volatility and provide greater certainty for consumers, retailers, and ethanol producers.
“Finally, failing to offer a fix for 2023 would be a significant setback for E15 availability. While we appreciate parts of EPA’s proposal, without similar treatment for E15 this year, the benefits of such treatment could be undermined or negated completely as retailers stop selling this lower-cost, lower-carbon fuel option.
“EPA should act swiftly to avoid these negative impacts and find a way to give American families access to the same savings this year that they came to rely on last year. Growth Energy will continue to work alongside our champions to work toward an immediate and permanent place at the pump for lower-cost ethanol blends.”
In 2022, the governors of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio sent letters to EPA calling for parity between E10 and E15 in their states through Section 211(h)(5) of the Clean Air Act, accompanied by research illustrating the benefits of E15 to air quality. After acknowledging receipt of the governors’ request, EPA today proposed a rule to make the necessary regulatory changes to implement year-round sale of E15 in those states. The rule, however, if finalized as proposed, would only take effect in 2024, leaving consumer access to E15 during the upcoming 2023 driving season in limbo.