Restrictions on summertime E15 sales, which President Trump has called “ridiculous” and “unnecessary”, ended Sunday. Back in late July, President Trump indicated his administration was “very close” to allowing year-round sales of E15. It was over two weeks ago when Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue told a crowd at the Farm Progress Show in Iowa that President Trump called him just moments before he took the microphone.
“He said you get with that EPA administrator and you bring me something next week that I can announce.”
Dave Hudak is the General Manager of POET Biorefining in Alexandria. He just returned from DC as part of the Growth Energy annual Biofuels Summit and heard from Secretary Perdue. Hudak says Perdue did not elaborate on what the holdup is.
“Secretary Perdue said that it was imminent, but he could not define imminent. So, it’s coming. We just don’t know when that’s going to happen, but it is going to happen.”
I asked Hudak why it was important for the restriction on year-round E15 sales to be taken care of now as opposed to closer to next summer’s restriction period.
“Things in Washington don’t move very quickly, so it’s very important to get things done now. There will be a comment period EPA will have to go through. A lot of red tape as you can imagine. So, it’s going to take months for this to actually get put in place.”
He also said retailers are waiting for this to become reality.
“Many of the retailers are saying, ‘I can’t sell year-round. Why would I put it in?’ So, once this is allowed to be sold year-round that gives them the incentive now to put the infrastructure in to enable them to offer the higher blends. such as E15 or E20 even.”
While in DC, Hudak said he met with many members of the Indiana delegation, and he says they are continuing to champion higher blends of ethanol and protecting the Renewable Fuels Standard.
The Renewable Fuels Association and six other groups wrote to the president this week, urging his administration to follow through and provide farmers and ethanol producers with expanded access to markets and new sources of demand at a time when agricultural and biofuel markets are struggling.
“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,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “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.”
Some information in this piece was contributed by the Renewable Fuels Association.