EPA proposal expected to expand sales of high-ethanol gasoline in Midwest states
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing action that’s expected to expand the sale of gasoline made with higher concentrations of ethanol in eight states near the Midwest.
The move is expected to allow more sales of gasoline with 15 percent concentrations of ethanol, rather than the more common type with 10 percent concentrations of ethanol, in the summer.
It comes after a request from the states’ governors, and is seen as a win for the biofuels industry. However, it is not expected to take effect until 2024.
Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol, told The Hill that in the long-term, the change would be “enormously important” for the industry.
The EPA action is in relation to congressionally-set limits on gasoline’s volatility – a measure of a substance’s ability to evaporate — that include an exemption for some 10 percent ethanol gasoline.
The agency revoked on Wednesday that exemption for gasoline sold in the eight states starting in 2024.
Jennings said that this puts gasoline with a higher concentration of ethanol on “equal footing” in those states as fuel refiners would now be expected to make gasoline using different methodology that could also include gasoline with more ethanol.
Broadly, ethanol issues do not fall neatly along partisan lines, as Republicans in corn-producing states tend to take different stances than those who represent oil-refining states.
In Congress, bipartisan senators are attempting to make a similar change nationwide.
“This proposal, while well-intended, still leaves the country with a patchwork of regulations that prevents the nation’s driving public from enjoying the full benefits of biofuels,” Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said in a written statement.
“The best solution here is congressional action,” she added.
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