The restriction against summertime blending of E15 will be lifted on Sunday, September 16th. While this is good news for ethanol producers, it is frustrating news overall. It means another summer has come and gone without the repeal of the restriction.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen says, “EPA’s nonsensical restriction on E15 is preventing consumers from saving money at the pump precisely when prices are typically at their highest and is hamstringing further expansion in the marketplace,” President Trump has repeatedly said he wants the summertime E15 ban to end, yet inexplicably EPA has been dragging its feet. Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has already destructed demand for more than 2.25 billion gallons of biofuel. With the corn and ethanol industries hurting, EPA needs to act now to provide new value-added market opportunities and ensure consumers have consistent access to lower priced, higher octane E15.”
There were times it looked like a deal could be reached on the year-round blending of E15, and many times biofuels supporters have been disappointed. There is speculation the oil industry is looking for concessions to drop their opposition to year-round blending. The ethanol industry says the oil industry has received enough benefits in the form of small-refiner waivers handed out by former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt.
During the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, on August 29th, United States Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told a crowd he had been directed by President Trump to work with Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to get a year-round E15 agreement hammered out to unveil the following week. The crowd in Iowa was most pleased with the information as Iowa is a large producer of corn and ethanol.
However, the next week came and went. So has the week after that. There has been not a peep on any new developments, or as some in the biofuels industry call it, “the same old same old.”