Fuels Industry Steps Up Push for E15 Sales This Summer

Trade associations are urging action from the EPA to alleviate price shock and help further energy security.

WASHINGTON, D.C. With the summer driving season less than two months away and fuel prices again on the rise, fuel and convenience retailer associations are urging the Biden Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to authorize the summertime sale of gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol (E15).

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) kicked off an advertising campaign and call-to-action targeting ethanol supporters across the Midwest, as well as policymakers and insiders in Washington, D.C. In addition to radio spots running in both markets, the RFA is also running print ads in several Midwest states, as well as digital ads across multiple geographies.

"Our message to the Biden Administration is simple: unless the White House acts quickly, American drivers will lose access to the lowest-cost, lowest-carbon fuel at the pump on June 1," said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. " As we saw last summer, allowing year-round sales of E15 is an easy step the administration can take to immediately reduce gas prices for consumers. With OPEC announcing another round of production cuts and oil prices on the rise again, American families need relief at the pump."

Meanwhile, NATSO, SIGMA: America's Leading Fuel Marketers and NACS sent a collective letter to the EPA stating that inflation coupled with lingering supply chain disruptions and continued geopolitical unrest have created a volatile fuel supply market that is unlikely to change in coming months. 

The EPA temporarily allowed the summer sale of E15 in 2022, helping to lower gas prices, and is considering a rules change to allow the year-round sale of E15 fuel starting in 2024, eliminating the need for future waivers. However, trade associations point out this doesn't address the needs of drivers for 2023.

Cooper also directed attention to a Morning Consult poll conducted late last month that found strong voter support for year-round E15 sales, with 70 percent of respondents supporting an increased availability of E15 to help lower fuel prices and support energy independence.

According to an RFA analysis, allowing summertime sales of E15 saved drivers $57 million at the pump between June 1 and Sept. 15, 2022. And a study by economists at U.C. Berkeley and elsewhere released earlier this year shows that adding low-cost ethanol to the nation's gasoline supply could improve energy security.

The Renewable Fuels Association has been serving as an advocate for the ethanol industry since 1981.