Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was among those praising President Trump’s directive to allow the use of E15 gasoline in summer months and bring greater transparence to the trading of biofuel credits, known as Renewable Identification Numbers.
“Expanding the sale of E15 year-round is sound policy for a variety of reasons,” Perdue said. “Consumers will have more choices when they fill up at the pump, including environmentally friendly fuel with decreased emissions. It is also an excellent way to use our high corn productivity and improved yields. Year-round sale of E15 will increase demand for corn, which is obviously good for growers. This has been a years-long fight and is another victory for our farm and rural economies. Along with E15 expansion, we also welcome much-needed reforms to the RIN market, which will also increase transparency. I look forward to working with the EPA to see rulemaking and year-round E15 completed by the driving season of 2019.”
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said family farmers are encouraged by the move that will allow for increased use of higher blends of ethanol, but that the compromise is a “net loss” in demand for farm products at a time when family farmers are going out of business because of low farm prices.
“Allowing use of E15 gasoline year-round is an important step toward realizing a renewable energy future for transportation fuel sector, and we’re appreciative of the administration’s support for higher level blends of ethanol,” Johnson said. “At the same time, this ‘compromise’ does nothing to address the billions of gallons of ethanol demand that were lost as a result of the EPA’s RFS waiver handouts to oil refiners. Family farmers are in significant financial distress right now, and the administration’s surreptitious biofuel demand destruction has made matters worse. The bottom line here is that if the President wants to do right by his promises to support family farmers and American grown biofuels, his administration must support net increases in biofuel use. Even with an E15 waiver, family farmers are at a net loss in biofuel demand over the past two years.”
“Today’s announcement by President Trump in support of year-round E15 sales is a win for American farmers and consumers,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “After years of declining farm income, opening up markets to additional fuel choices helps create new demand that farmers desperately need. As our country has worked on breaking our dependency on foreign oil, our farmers have played a major role in helping us become more energy independent. AFBF applauds the president for his support of homegrown biofuels and upholding the campaign promises made to rural America.”
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw called the action a “big win for Iowa farmers.”
“It’s hard to find the proper adjectives to describe how exciting it is to see year-round E15 move forward,” Shaw said. “We have worked non-stop on this issue for seven years while the unjustified restrictions hampered retailers from offering E15.
“While we savor this victory, it is only the beginning,” Shaw added. “We will work with EPA to ensure the rulemaking process is completed prior to June 1st next year when the summertime E15 restrictions would otherwise go back into effect. We also fully expect the petroleum industry to sue the EPA because they do not want to compete with a lower-priced, higher-octane fuel like E15. But the ethanol industry stands ready to defend President Trump’s brave decision to give consumers the choice of E15.”
But not everyone praised the announcement. The National Council of Chain Restaurants said allowing E15 to be sold year-round would be bad for both consumers and the environment.
“Higher blends like E15 are bad for air quality in warmer temperatures,” said NCCR Executive Director David French. “Expanding the sale of E15 ethanol to year-round won’t make up for the harm corn growers are suffering from the administration’s trade war. If the administration wants to help corn growers in Iowa, they should end the trade war with China and restore export markets for America’s farmers.”
Source: NFU, AFBF, USDA, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, NCCR