Trump pledges support for year-round E15 sales

By Erin Voegele | April 12, 2018

On April 12, President Donald Trump pledged his support for allowing year-round sales of E15. Representatives of the ethanol industry are speaking out in support of his announcement.

Trump made the announcement during a meeting at the White House Thursday morning. Sen Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, confirmed Trump’s support for year-round E15 sales in a series of tweets. “At WH mtg on trade/farm good news for corn/ethanol the President is moving ahead w E15 12 months a yr,” Grassley wrote. “Glad Pres Trump announced E15 yr round w/out a RIN cap This will help farmers & keep RIN prices low like refiners have wanted,” Grassley later wrote.

He also noted that the issue of Renewable Fuel Standard hardship waivers was discussed during the meeting. Grassley indicated that he rebutted that EPA has already granted relief for small refineries by awarding secret RFS waivers. “…Inference was too many waivers are being given &EPA is acting contrary 2law when companies making 1.5b get a waiver. That’s not hardship,” Grassley tweeted.

The Renewable Fuels Association called reports of Trump’s support for year-round E15 welcome news. “We are certainly pleased to hear reports the president has endorsed year-round use of E15, providing consumers access to a higher octane, lower priced fuel option,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA. “It will be welcome news to consumers across the country, farmers who have worked to build value-added markets here at home in the face of increased uncertainty in export markets, and the investment community that has received conflicting signals regarding future markets for next generation biofuels.

“If true, the report suggests President Trump intends to fulfill his commitment to a 15 billion gallon RFS,” Dinneen continued. “But for that commitment to be fully realized, EPA Administrator Pruitt must cease his campaign to destruct biofuel demand with unjustified waivers and other policies meant to undermine the RFS. We look forward to working with the administration to fulfill the promise of a growing and dynamic renewable fuels industry.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol has spoken out to thank Trump for his pledge to support year-round sales of E15. “ACE has been calling for a legislative or administrative fix to this outdated regulatory burden for a long time now, and we’re grateful the president has publicly expressed his support to help the industry move in a positive direction,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of Ace. “Allowing the sale of E15 year-round is not only a commonsense step to provide regulatory relief to retailers, it is a win for their customers, who save about a nickel to a dime with each gallon of E15 at the pump. It is also the quickest way to take pressure off RIN prices. E15 blending nationwide will increase ethanol blending which will increase the supply of RIN credits and help bring down their price.  E15 is a clean and safe fuel with lower evaporative emissions than E10 and straight gasoline and will help further decrease tailpipe emissions.

“There’s a clear recognition of refinery wins in the form of so-called hardship waivers and collapsing RIN prices have caused real damage in rural America—it is time to allow E15 to be sold year-round,” Jennings continued. “We look forward to participating in the process to finally make E15 sales year-round a reality.”

Growth Energy is also applauding Trump’s announcement. “We applaud President Trump for embracing a common-sense fix to create a level playing field for cleaner, more affordable fuel options during the summer driving season,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “The White House clearly understands that RVP relief will expand a growing market for America’s farmers while letting consumers pick the fuel of their choice.”

The Advanced Biofuels Business Council said year-round E15 will help farmers. “The president clearly understands the need to help farmers, particularly after the EPA’s backdoor handouts destroyed a huge share of the market for biofuels,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the ABBC. “He knows that rural communities are hurting, and this is an easy way to help, simply by lifting an outdated regulation against wider choices at the pump. But refiners have held E15 hostage for years, and they always want more. For this to help farm families, it will be important that the White House continues to steer clear of refiner-backed changes that would gut the RFS.”