Farm groups push for year-round E15

Farm groups are urging the EPA to make E15 available year-round for the summer driving season even if it means splitting modifications to their proposed rule.

President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association Geoff Copper testified in support of year-round E15 during EPA’s hearing Friday in Michigan but says none of the proposed changes to the Renewable Identification Number (RINs) program are an improvement. “We believe it is very important that EPA sever the E15 RVP and RIN reform provisions into two rulemaking to insure the RVP measures are able to be promulgated before May 31.”

Several members of the National Biodiesel Board testified at the hearing including Chris Peterson with HERO BX who is against the proposed changes to the RIN program. “Unfortunately, EPA has not provided any evidence of RIN market manipulation to warrant any of its proposed reforms. The reforms themselves could further lead to market uncertainty and financial losses.”    

Frank Macchiarola with the American Petroleum Institute says the proposed rule is an anti-consumer policy that goes beyond EPA’s authority. “Nearly three out of four cars are not designed to use E15 and vehicle testing demonstrates that engine and fuel system damage may result from using E15 in 2001 and nearer vehicles that are not designed for its use.”   

National Corn Growers Association first vice president Kevin Ross, a sixth-generation Iowa farmer, says continued low commodity prices, recent trade disruptions and EPA’s RFS waivers are taking a toll on farmers.  He has a different perspective than Macchiarola. “E15 can save drivers between three and 10 cents per gallon.  Since more than 90 percent of the vehicles on the road today can use E15, more retailers will be able to offer consumers more choice when this outdated restriction is lifted.”        

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says finalizing EPA’s rule on year-round E15 will provide consumers with uninterrupted access to a cleaner, lower cost fuel. “Eliminating this barrier promises to unlock an estimated 1.3 billion gallons of new ethanol demand.  Over time that added demand could grow to 7 billion gallons – lending an economic lifeline to rural families.”    

Dozens of farmers, retailers, and ethanol producers also testified during EPA’s hearing in support of E15 while refiners and representatives of petroleum and small engine manufacturers spoke against it.

First panel of EPA hearing

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