June 22, 2024
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OIL & GAS

U.S. EPA to Temporarily Expand Sales of Higher-Ethanol Gasoline Blends

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to announce plans by Friday to temporarily expand sales of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline this summer, a move that is expected to boost demand for corn ethanol, according to Reuters.

The measure aims to extend the period during which Americans can purchase E15 gasoline, which contains a 15% ethanol blend, from June 1 to September 15.

This decision is seen as a victory for the corn ethanol industry and comes after lobbying efforts from lawmakers, including Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

While the addition of ethanol to gasoline has been known to increase smog pollution in hot weather, research has shown little difference in environmental impact between E15 and the more widely available E10 blends.

The announcement follows a push from lawmakers who argued that expanding sales of E15 would enhance energy security amid unrest in regions such as Ukraine and the Middle East.

This move also aligns with the Biden administration’s strategy to control gasoline prices, with previous temporary approvals for summertime sales of E15 being well-received by the Farm Belt, an influential constituency.

The corn lobby has been advocating for expanded year-round sales of E15, with a significant milestone achieved in February when the administration approved a request from Midwestern governors to permit summertime sales of E15 in their states, starting in 2025.

The EPA has not yet responded to requests for comment on the matter, but the impending announcement signals a significant development for the ethanol industry and could have implications for both energy policy and the agricultural sector.

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