The Environmental Protection Agency says it will complete a rule to help boost sales of ethanol-blended gasoline by the time the summer driving season is in full swing. The agency says they are committed to completing the task despite the partial government shutdown. However, the agency did warn two congressional members that the timeline for getting the new rule in place will be delayed.
Just before the November election, President Trump had pledged to get rid of the ban on summer sales of E15 gasoline. The goal was to give a boost to the U.S. ethanol industry that’s been hurt by overseas trade disputes and weak domestic demand. The administration had wanted the rule out by February. Again, EPA says the shutdown will delay that timeline, but a spokesman says the agency will still have the rule published by the summer driving season.
The EPA still has a ban in place on summertime E15 sales because of concerns that it contributes to smog on hot days. That’s a concern that biofuels advocates say isn’t accurate. The Trump decision to lift the ban on summer E15 sales was applauded by corn-state farmers and lawmakers. The proposal would likely come with several reforms to the credit-trading market that underpins the nation’s renewable fuels policy.