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Ethanol, Ag Groups Ask Biden for E15 Waiver as Summer Driving Season Approaches

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
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Agriculture and ethanol groups asked for a waiver to allow E15 sales to continue this summer, in a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday. (DTN file photo)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) – Six major ethanol and agriculture groups asked President Joe Biden to issue a waiver to allow E15 sales to continue this summer, in a letter sent on Wednesday, as the groups laid out the conditions that warrant the waiver.

Interest groups, federal and state lawmakers and others have been pressing for action but so far, the Biden administration has yet to respond.

"The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, now extending into its second year, continues to reverberate across global energy markets," the groups said in the letter.

"At home, this conflict continues to cause fuel supply disruptions, high gasoline prices, and ongoing uncertainty for millions of Americans. To help remedy these disruptions, provide stability for American families and support domestic energy and economic security, we urge the administration to authorize the summer sale of gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol."

Signing the letter are Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Producers, American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union.

The groups lay out a number of factors to show a waiver is necessary.

"First, crude oil and petroleum product inventories remain at near-historic lows," the letter said.

"Total stocks are at a 19-year low for this time of year and the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve is at its lowest level since 1983. In most regions of the country, fuel inventories today are lower than they were in April 2022 when EPA issued its first emergency waiver of the 9.0 psi RVP limit for E15.

"Second, there is increasing uncertainty in the domestic fuel supply. U.S. export volumes of crude oil and petroleum products are at record levels, as shipments to Europe and other markets are surging. Moreover, the surprise oil output cuts recently announced by OPEC plus are likely to further increase demand for U.S. exports, putting additional pressure on domestic fuel supplies heading into summer."

In addition, the letter said gasoline prices are "rising rapidly."

Between March 15 and April 3, wholesale gasoline prices jumped 35 cents per gallon, according to the groups, with some analysts warning last summer's $5 a gallon is a possibility this summer.

"These elevated fuel prices continue adding to inflationary pressures," the letter said.

"The conditions above, which have been in place since 2022, remain 'extreme and unusual' and as EPA concluded when it issued emergency RVP waivers in 2022, they are not attributable to a lack of prudent planning on the part of fuel suppliers.

"In addition, temporary emergency RVP waivers for the 2023 summer driving season would continue to be in the public interest. Research shows that the emergency RVP waivers issued in 2022 had a positive impact on American consumers, with cost savings of nearly a dollar per gallon in some locations and an average of 23 cents per gallon according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce."

The groups told Biden E15 continues to save consumers "significantly" at the pump.

"Continued access to E15 in the summer months would help relieve supply pressure stemming from reduced petroleum imports, increased petroleum exports and lower-than-usual refining capacity utilization," the groups wrote.

"Furthermore, allowing summer sales of E15 would provide environmental benefits through lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced evaporative emissions and fewer harmful pollutants linked to poor air quality."

In addition, they said access to E15 in the summer would enhance U.S. energy security while supporting America's farmers and rural economies.

"While a permanent solution that would allow E15 sales year-round remains an important necessity, we urge you to take action on a temporary, emergency RVP waiver as soon as possible to remedy current and expected supply challenges resulting from ongoing conflict in Ukraine," the letter said.

Read more on DTN:

"Gasoline Retailers Say They Need E15 Emergency Waiver Soon,"…

"Senators Reintroduce E15 Legislation,"…

Todd Neeley can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley


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