Biden EPA Grants E15 Waiver for Summer

EPA Grants E15 Summer Waiver, Citing Supply Issues, Price Concerns

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Environmental Editor
Connect with Todd:
The Biden administration granted a waiver on Friday to allow E15 sales to continue this summer. (Photo courtesy of the Nebraska Ethanol Board)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- E15 sales will continue this summer, as the Biden administration granted a waiver Friday to a Clean Air Act provision that shuts off those sales starting on June 1 for summer ozone concerns.

The EPA cited "ongoing market supply issues" created by "Russia's unprovoked war" in Ukraine for reasons to issue the emergency waiver.

"The waiver will help protect Americans from fuel-supply crises by reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels, building U.S. energy independence and supporting American agriculture and manufacturing," the agency said in a news release.

"Current estimates indicate that on average, E15 is about 25 cents a gallon cheaper than E10."

The EPA was running up against a hard May 1 deadline for terminals to be able to continue selling E15 to retailers.

The agency said the waiver would remain in effect until May 20, which is the maximum period allowed by law.

"EPA will continue to monitor the supply with industry and federal partners, and the agency expects to issue new waivers effectively extending the emergency fuel waiver until such time as the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances due to the war in Ukraine are no longer present," EPA said.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the administration continues to show its support for biofuels and rural America.

"By allowing the summer sale of E15 at gas pumps nationwide, President (Joe) Biden is supporting the creation of good-paying jobs and economic growth, particularly in rural and farm communities," he said in a statement.

Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said in a statement U.S. consumers face similar market issues they did in 2022.

"U.S. gasoline inventories are even tighter than they were a year ago, and Putin's war on Ukraine continues to wreak havoc on global fuel supplies," Cooper said.

"EPA's action allowing summertime E15 will help extend gasoline supplies, prevent fuel shortages, protect air quality and reduce carbon emissions."

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said in a statement that last summer, E15 saved drivers about 16 cents per gallon on average. She called on Congress to keep up the "momentum by acting swiftly on a permanent fix for E15."

Brian Jennings, CEO of the American Coalition for Ethanol, said annual waivers are not the way to approach E15 policy.

"This annual drama of threatened summertime E15 sales, followed by last-minute reprieves, has got to end," he said. "It's wearing on retailers selling E15 today and is a major reason more marketers aren't offering it."

Two Iowa senators responded favorably to the news early Friday in Twitter posts.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said on Twitter the EPA approval was long overdue.

"Seeing reports that EPA will issue last minute waiver 2 allow E15 for summer driving which is common sense + about time since consumers can save $$ at the pump w higher blends of ethanol and gas price$ continue 2 rise," Grassley wrote.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, also reacted to the news on Twitter: "After months of pressure on the Biden admin to act on E15, I'm proud to see our hard work pay off! NEXT STEP: Let's stop relying on emergency waivers and make this permanent."

The Iowa Corn Growers Association said in a statement the action will help consumers save money at the pump.

"We appreciate EPA's timely action to save consumers up to 20 cents per gallon while also creating market access for Iowa corn farmers as the top ethanol- and corn-producing state," said Denny Friest, a farmer from Radcliffe, Iowa, and president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said high fuel prices and recent OPEC oil-production cuts increase E15's importance to consumers.

"In Iowa we are clearly on the path where E15 will be the 'new normal' in a few years," he said.

E15, also commonly marketed as Unleaded 88 at the pump, is approved for use in 2001 or newer vehicles accounting for over 95% of vehicles on the road today.

This year's announcement is just one day earlier than the EPA's waiver granted in 2022.

On March 1, the Biden administration announced it was granting petitions for eight states seeking a permanent waiver to allow year-round E15 sales.

Those states include Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The Clean Air Act allows governors to notify EPA that they wish to reject the use of the 1-psi waiver for E10 in their states. This would result in the application of the same volatility limitation to both E15 and E10 -- essentially putting E10 and E15 on the same footing in those states beginning in 2024.

Read more on DTN:

"Biden Approves State E15 Requests,"…

"AFPM Calls on Eight States to Rescind E15 Requests With EPA,"…

Todd Neeley can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley

Todd Neeley

Todd Neeley
Connect with Todd: