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Bipartisan Group of Senators Seek Year-Round E15 in Response to Russian Invasion

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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A group of 16 U.S. senators have asked President Joe Biden to restore year-round E15 sales. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- A bipartisan group of U.S. senators asked the Biden administration to take action to restore year-round E15 sales in light of a ban on Russian oil and gas imports to the U.S., in a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

The request is the latest in a number of actions members of Congress have taken in an attempt to expand the production and use of biofuels as gasoline prices continue to rise to all-time highs.

On Wednesday, Iowa Republican Sens. Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley introduced legislation to expand E15 availability,….

Because of a court ruling last year, E15 is not allowed to be sold year-round across the country. Because of ozone concerns, E15 will be restricted in many regions of the country from June 1 to Sept. 15.

In the letter to Biden, the senators ask the administration to act to restore year-round E15 availability.

"As the United States joins global partners in seeking to hold accountable and isolate the Russian Federation for its unprovoked assault on Ukraine, we must deny Russia's economic lifeblood of energy dominance," the senators wrote.

"This will require tapping every accessible contribution of American energy technology. As you know, American biofuels are one such readily available energy solution that offer consumers affordable and cleaner options at the pump."

The letter is signed by Sens. John Thune, R-South Dakota; Dick Durbin, D-Illinois; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan; Jerry Moran, R-Kansas; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota; M. Michael Rounds, R-South Dakota; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois; Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska; Tina Smith, D-Minnesota; Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota; and Roger Marshall, R-Kansas.

"Wholesale ethanol has recently traded for approximately $1.20 cheaper than gasoline per gallon, a discount that is passed on to consumers and amplified in higher blends like E15, E30 and E85," the letter said.

"Additionally, higher blends of biofuels as well as biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel, displace a greater share of imported oil each time they are chosen by consumers. Preserving the option for American drives to select E15 throughout the busy summer driving season will benefit our families and businesses while blunting a vital source of funding for Vladimir Putin's campaign of destruction."

The senators said taking the action would "send an important signal of certainty and stability to fuel retailers" who currently sell E15.

"We know this is but one energy solution at your disposal that can contribute to our nation's broader response to Russia's malign aggressions, but it is a foundational way to leverage the strength of American agriculture to provide energy security for consumers and show that the United States is committed to lessening our dangerous dependence on foreign sources of energy," the senators said.

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