Biden administration sees year-round sales of higher ethanol fuel by 2024

Some Midwestern states sought allowing E15 year round in 2023. It's an effort, in part, to help lower the cost of fuel for consumers.

A sign advertising E15, a gasoline with 15 percent of ethanol, is seen at a gas station in Clive, Iowa.

April 19 (Reuters) — A U.S. plan for year-round sales of a fuel blend with more ethanol known as E15 in eight Midwestern states will likely go into effect in summer 2024, a year later than the states sought, the top U.S. environment regulator told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Considering the move to help lower gas prices, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studied if it could make the change this summer but concluded there was not enough time for final rule-making, EPA Administrator Michael Regan told the House Agriculture Committee.

Regan added that the agency will consider issuing a temporary emergency waiver to allow sales of E15 this summer.

The EPA in March proposed a rule that would allow year-round sales of E15, fuel containing 15% ethanol, in the Midwestern states beginning in 2024. Governors of eight states, including major corn-producing states like Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois, had asked that EPA lift an effective ban on E15 sales during summer 2023.

"There would be a significant disruption to consumer pricing and the like if we moved too quickly in 2023," Regan said. "We feel very confident that E15 being sold year-round will be eligible and ready to go in 2024."


Last year, the EPA allowed summertime sales of E15 through an emergency waiver.

The EPA prevents summertime E15 sales because of concerns it contributes to smog in hot weather. Research has shown that E15 may not increase smog more than E10, which is sold year-round and contains 10% ethanol.

The ethanol industry has long sought expanded sales of E15. Critics in the oil industry have argued that expanding E15 sales only in certain states could lead to distribution challenges.

Both industries have said they prefer a nationwide policy allowing E15.

(Reporting by Leah Douglas; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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