Ethanol Blog

Lawmakers, Retailers Make Last-Minute Push for E15 Summer Waiver

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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A group of senators are pressing the Biden administration to grant a waiver to allow E15 sales to continue this summer. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- Letters continue to fill the mailbox at the White House from federal lawmakers, ethanol industry officials and fuel retailers pressing the Biden administration to grant a waiver to allow the continued sale of E15 this summer.

The clock is ticking as the start of the summer driving season is about six weeks away.

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators sent a letter to Biden making the case that the economic factors that led to the EPA granting an E15 waiver last spring have not changed.

"Unfortunately, this underlying justification remains applicable as Russia's war of aggression continues to weigh on global energy and security," the senators wrote. "Further, Iran-backed aggression in the Middle East, specifically Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, presents new threats to global energy markets and our energy security."

The letter is signed by Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Josh Hawley, R-Missouri; John Hoeven, R-North Dakota; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota; Roger Marshall, R-Kansas; Jerry Moran, R-Kansas; Gary Peters, D-Michigan; Pete Ricketts, R-Nebraska; Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota; Tina Smith, D-Minnesota; Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan; and J.D. Vance, R-Ohio.

"Furthermore, temporary action is again required in light of the EPA's announcement to postpone until 2025 the implementation of eight state petitions to sell E15 year-round," the letter said.

"As you know, the consideration of state action has led to a historic agreement between liquid fuel stakeholders in support of securing a permanent legislative solution to allow nationwide, year-round E15 sales, while respecting each state's authority to opt-out of such a program. Taking temporary action now will continue the uninterrupted sale of E15 for what would be the sixth-consecutive year -- a major win for consumer choice and emissions reductions."

Ethanol and corn groups chimed in on the senators' efforts.

"All of the conditions that made an E15 waiver so important in past years are still present," said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy.

"If EPA doesn't take action, American motorists would lose access to a more affordable fuel option this summer. We can't afford to wait any longer -- we need EPA to act now."

Harold Wolle, president of the National Corn Growers Association, said in a statement that time is running out.

"Providing continued access to a more affordable, lower-carbon fuel, like E15, will not only save drivers money at the pump, but it will also help farmers across the country," Wolle said. "Yet time is of the essence as we quickly approach the summer months."

Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said current oil and fuel supplies necessitate an E15 waiver: "It is more important than ever that U.S. consumers have access to E15, the American made, lower-cost and cleaner-burning fuel."

Also on Thursday, a group of 15 Iowa fuel retailers sent a letter to Biden asking for an E15 waiver.

"Daily, our customers are feeling the brunt of the fuel market and continue to see gasoline prices increase at the pump," the retailers said. "Iowans will not be able to find the needed relief in their pocketbooks without the ability to fill-up their family vehicle with E15."

The retailers include Maverick/Kum and Go; Growmark FS; New Century FS; New Cooperative; Five Star Cooperative; Sundstop LLC; Zubs Shop; Cresco Fast Stop; Cubby's; RocStop; RAM Inc.; The Corner Store; Linn Coop Oil Co.; Thomson's Filling Station; and Farmers Mutual Town and Country.

"Now more than ever, we want to keep selling E15, and our customers want to keep buying E15 to save money," the retailers said.

"While we support the solution for 2025 and beyond, we are encouraging the administration to use its waiver authority to permit the sale of E15 fuel for the 2024 summer driving season and extend the Reid vapor pressure waiver from June 1 through Sept. 15."

Todd Neeley can be reached at

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