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Year-round E15: A Win for Nebraska

May 31, 2019

In 2018, Nebraska reached its all-time high in ethanol–blended fuel consumption. Since the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was enacted in 2005, Nebraska has broken its record for ethanol–blended fuel consumption nine times.

According to the Nebraska Ethanol Board, the 25 ethanol plants in Nebraska account for $5 billion in economic impact and 1,300 jobs. Ethanol is not only good for Nebraska, but it also promotes American energy independence, creates jobs, stimulates economic development in communities across our nation, and provides an expanding domestic market for our corn growers.

Any fuel approved by the EPA has to meet certain standards such as limits on Reid vapor pressure (RVP), which measures the volatility of the fuel. In 1978, a waiver allowing for the sale of E10 (a type of fuel where gasoline is blended with 10 percent ethanol) was put into place. While E15 usage is approved by the EPA, the waiver allowing year-round sale of E10 does not allow selling E15 from June 1 to September 15 each year, despite the fact E15 has a lower RVP than E10.

The arbitrary ban on summer month sales of E15 costs consumers at the pump and the ethanol industry alike. Folks who choose E15 for their vehicles are forced to change their fuel of choice and producers are not able to sell a widely used blend for months at a time.

Last year, after I spoke with President Trump and followed up multiple times with administration officials, the President implemented a decision to allow the year-round sale of E15 in accordance with legislation which I introduced last Congress. I have long been an advocate and a leading voice in Congress for the expansion of E15 sales, and was pleased the administration was taking action.

As President Trump announced his intention to move forward in allowing E15 to be sold during the summer months, the EPA subsequently proposed a rule for year-round E-15 followed by a public comment period. In a White House announcement today, the President finalized this rule, making year-round E15 available in time for the summer driving season.

This is a huge win for consumers, producers, those who support renewable fuels, and the state of Nebraska. I am thankful for the President’s diligent action in addressing this problem, and I will continue to look for ways to expand markets for ethanol.