Thune, Durbin Urge Biden to Prioritize E15 Fuel, Leverage American Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today led a bipartisan group of their colleagues in urging President Biden to permit the summertime sale of E15 fuel. The senators note that American biofuels are a clean and reliable energy solution that will help drive down fuel costs for consumers.

“[W]e must pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which includes leveraging domestic biofuels,” wrote the senators. “As your previous temporary waivers have proven, permitting the sale of higher blends of biofuels like E15 through the summer driving season bolsters the domestic fuel supply, lowers consumer costs, and promotes the environmental benefits of American biofuels and modern agriculture.”

“All of the conditions that made an E15 waiver so important in past years are still present,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “If EPA doesn’t take action, American motorists would lose access to a more affordable fuel option this summer. We can’t afford to wait any longer – we need EPA to act now. We commend Senator Thune, Senator Durbin, and other bipartisan Senate biofuel champions for pushing the administration to do the right thing and allow E15 to be sold this summer.”

“Providing continued access to a more affordable, lower-carbon fuel, like E15, will not only save drivers money at the pump, but it will also help farmers across the country,” said Harold Wolle, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “Yet, time is of the essence as we quickly approach the summer months. We are deeply appreciative to the bipartisan support we are receiving from our Senate champions on this issue.”

“We thank Senators Thune and Durbin, along with all other Senate supporters, for calling on the Biden administration to quickly take action to allow the nationwide sale of E15 through the coming summer,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “These senators understand that with ongoing geopolitical conflicts and the current oil and fuel supplies being at lower levels than the last two summer driving seasons, it is more important than ever that U.S. consumers have access to E15, the American made, lower-cost and cleaner-burning fuel.”

This letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio).

Full letter below:

Dear President Biden:

We write to request that you again take swift executive action to permit the sale of E15 fuel during the 2024 summer driving season by extending the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver, nationwide, from June 1 through September 15.

Enabling the year-round sale of E15, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permitted in both 2022 and 2023 through nationwide temporary waivers under Clean Air Act Section 211(c)(4)(C)(ii), helped allow our energy supply chain to “address extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances caused by the war in Ukraine that are affecting all regions of the nation.” Unfortunately, this underlying justification remains applicable as Russia’s war of aggression continues to weigh on global energy and security. Further, Iran-backed aggression in the Middle East, specifically Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, presents new threats to global energy markets and our energy security.

To counter these influences, we must pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which includes leveraging domestic biofuels. As your previous temporary waivers have proven, permitting the sale of higher blends of biofuels like E15 through the summer driving season bolsters the domestic fuel supply, lowers consumer costs, and promotes the environmental benefits of American biofuels and modern agriculture.

Furthermore, temporary action is again required in light of the EPA’s announcement to postpone until 2025 the implementation of eight state petitions to sell E15 year-round. As you know, the consideration of state action has led to a historic agreement between liquid fuel stakeholders in support of securing a permanent legislative solution to allow nationwide, year-round E15 sales, while respecting each state’s authority to opt-out of such a program. Taking temporary action now will continue the uninterrupted sale of E15 for what would be the sixth consecutive year, a major win for consumer choice and emissions reductions.

Lastly, extending the nationwide sale of E15 could again add billions of gallons of ethanol to the fuel supply at a time domestic inventories of crude oil and petroleum products are at their lowest point since May 2004, below when the EPA issued its 2022 and 2023 waivers. Furthermore, additional decreases in OPEC oil production will only amplify the already robust market for U.S. exports at a time of rising fuel demand.

American biofuels remain a straightforward, no-cost solution to shoring up our energy supply and reducing consumer costs, and issuing a waiver for the 2024 summer driving season remains in the public’s best interest. Thank you for your swift consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

cc: The Honorable Michael S. Regan, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

cc: The Honorable Jennifer Granholm, Secretary, U.S. Department of Energy

cc: The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture