Senators Fischer and Klobuchar Introduce Year Round E15 Legislation

On Tuesday, Nebraska Republican Senator Deb Fischer along with Minnesota Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. The legislation, also backed by 13 bipartisan Senators, would allow the sale of E-15 year round.

The legislation is also supported by the American Petroleum Institute (API), which many in agriculture see as huge support for year round E-15 legislation.

Many ag groups have come out in support of the legislation being introduced including the National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association and more. You can read their statements below.

You can also read more about this story from Reuters here: https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/us-senators-introduce-bill-expand-e15-gasoline-sales-with-support-oil-group-2022-11-29/

NCGA Release:

Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and 13 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act today, which would ensure permanent, full-market access to E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) applauded the new legislation, which has drawn support from a wide range of agriculture, fuel and retail stakeholders as a new opportunity to address a persistent issue.

“Ethanol saves Americans millions of dollars a year at the pump and is a critical part of our nation’s energy security,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “We thank Sens. Fischer and Klobuchar and their cosponsors for introducing legislation today that will ensure drivers across the country continue to have year-round access to safe, low-cost, low-emission E15 and provides a commonsense resolution to a long-standing outdated barrier to consumer choice.”

Despite EPA approving E15 for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles and a 2019 update to regulations, a 2021 court decision would have ended year-round market access to E15 last summer without the Biden administration using emergency authority to keep E15 in the market. The administration’s temporary action increased the fuel supply and reduced fuel prices, but fuel choice is again in question for 2023.

This legislation would provide a permanent remedy to the problem on a national basis, even as several Midwest governors have also initiated a state-by-state solution.

“Following roadblocks and uncertainty on federal actions, governors took matters into their hands this year, and their initiative spurred renewed interest in a nationwide solution,” said Haag. “Corn growers support EPA moving forward to implement the governors’ notices for 2023 until a national solution, like the one senators introduced today, becomes law and resolves this issue once and for all.”

Ensuring continued E15 sales year-round keeps a lower-emission fuel choice in the marketplace that costs less. E15 cuts evaporative, carbon and tailpipe emissions compared to standard 10 percent ethanol blended fuels. Blending more ethanol to make E15 displaces more toxic components in gasoline, reducing exhaust emissions for cleaner air.

Growth Energy Release:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of a bill to allow the year-round sale of E15 by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and 13 other senators:

“This summer, in the face of record-high gas prices, drivers across the country found savings at the pump of nearly a dollar per gallon thanks to E15 availability. In addition to putting money back in the pockets of American families and enhancing U.S. energy security and independence, E15 offers a lower-carbon fuel choice. In fact, a nationwide move to E15 would reduce carbon emissions by more than 17.62 million tons, the equivalent of taking 3.85 million cars off the road each year. While last summer’s temporary E15 waiver from the Biden Administration helped show the consumer benefits of E15, a permanent fix is vital to delivering and growing lower-cost, lower-carbon options at the pump and providing certainty to the fuel market. We’re grateful to Senators Fischer, Klobuchar, and other biofuel champions across the country for working with all involved stakeholders to finalize a solution for year-round E15 ahead of the 2023 driving season.”

RFA Release:

New bipartisan legislation introduced today by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and 13 other senators will help lower fuel prices for hard-hit American families by making E15 ethanol blends available year-round, the Renewable Fuels Association said.

“For the first time in history, ethanol producers, oil refiners, fuel retailers, equipment manufacturers, and farmers have all come together to support legislation that ensures American families can choose lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 at the pump every single day of the year without interruption,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We thank Sens. Fischer, Klobuchar, and other renewable fuel supporters in the Senate for introducing this legislation, which brings much-needed consistency and stability to the marketplace. It provides a simple, straightforward solution that will finally remove a burdensome and nonsensical barrier to broader deployment of cleaner, more affordable fuels. We are highly encouraged by the broad and diverse support that this effort is receiving, and we urge Congress to move quickly to adopt this commonsense legislation.”

Specifically, the legislation would harmonize fuel volatility regulations for ethanol-blended fuels across the country, allowing for the year-round sale of E15 in conventional gasoline markets. The legislation would supersede an effort by eight Midwest state governors to make regulatory changes that would assure the availability of E15 sales year-round in their states.

Additional bill co-sponsors, listed alphabetically, include Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tina Smith (D-MN), and John Thune (R-SD).

Last week, RFA and the American Petroleum Institute led a broad coalition of energy and agriculture organizations that called on Congress to quickly adopt legislation, like the bill introduced today, that would permanently resolve inconsistent fuel volatility regulations.

“Due to the current policy, it is extremely difficult for many fuel marketers and retailers that may desire to offer E15 to their customers in the summer months to source that product,” the letter stated. “Our groups have come together—for the first time ever—to support legislation that would resolve this issue once and for all. … We urge Congress to act quickly to adopt legislation that will bring certainty and consistency to the fuel market, while also finally resolving long-standing differences among many stakeholders about fuel volatility regulations.”

In addition to RFA and API, the letter was signed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Growth Energy, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, NATSO, representing truck stops and travel plazas, and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers.

RFA estimates that nearly 97 percent of registered vehicles on the road today are legally approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use E15, and the vast majority also carry the manufacturer’s endorsement to use E15. Recent analyses by RFA and the U.S. Energy Information Administration confirm that expanded use of E15 provided meaningful consumer savings at the pump last summer, as war in Ukraine pushed crude oil and gasoline prices to historic highs. A new survey released by CSP found that one out of every five fuel retailers plan to add the E15 blend at their locations in the coming year; more than 2,800 fuel stations currently carry the blend.

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