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Nebraska Passes Bill to Expand E15 Sales in State That Ranks Near Bottom in Ethanol Blending

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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Nebraska ranked 45th in ethanol-blending rates in 2021, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Graphic courtesy Renewable Fuels Association)

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen is scheduled to sign into law a bill on Thursday that expands E15 availability in the state, patterned after a law passed in Iowa recently.

The Nebraska Legislature passed LB562 on Tuesday in an effort to bolster the percentage of ethanol blended in the state. By DTN's calculations,…, Nebraska ranks 45th in the country in ethanol-blending rates at 9.7%.

The legislation directly addresses the state's overall ethanol-blending level.

Under the bill, requirements for new stations would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and at existing sites in January 2028 if the state's blend rate remains below 14%.

"If the statewide ethanol blend rate for 2027 is below 14% as determined pursuant to section 9 of this act and the retail motor fuel site is not a retail motor fuel site described in subsection (1) of this section, then beginning Jan. 1, 2028, the retail dealer shall advertise for sale and sell E15 gasoline from at least one qualifying motor fuel dispenser located at such retail motor fuel site," the bill says.

The governor will have the authority to issue an executive order to temporarily suspend the E15 standard if there is inadequate supply of the fuel.

"This legislation cements Nebraska's leadership role in homegrown, renewable energy, ensuring that more drivers can enjoy savings at the pump thanks to the state's world-class biofuel sector," Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said in a news release.

"The Biden administration should take a page from Gov. Pillen's leadership on this issue and move quickly to ensure permanent, nationwide access to cleaner, more affordable E15 fuel."

The Nebraska legislation came about as a result of work by Growth Energy, Poet LLC, Renewable Fuels Nebraska and other biofuel and ag leaders in the state.

Poet Senior Vice President Joshua Shields said in a statement the bill will provide a boost to the farm economy in Nebraska.

"Ensuring the freedom to fuel up with E15 will drive economic opportunities across Nebraska from farms to filling stations," he said.

"E15 access will grow in-state demand for corn and bioethanol and put Nebraskans' hard-earned gas money to work across the state."

Last year, the average retail price of E15 in Nebraska was 17 cents less per gallon than E10. A recent study showed transitioning from E10 to E15 could save Nebraskans $55 million annually.

According to Poet, shifting to E15 statewide would also increase the demand for corn by 14.5 million bushels per year, boosting economic activity in Nebraska by more than $143 million annually and supporting more than 3,000 jobs.

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