U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), with the support of 21 bipartisan co-sponsors, introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022, new legislation that would enable the year-round, nationwide sale of ethanol blends higher than 10%. The legislation would help lower fuel prices and improve stability and certainty in the U.S. fuel market.
“We applaud Reps. Angie Craig and Adrian Smith, along with their bipartisan cosponsors, for introducing new legislation to keep higher ethanol blends accessible, saving consumer money at the pump and enhancing our energy security,” said Tom Haag, President of National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). “This bill provides a commonsense resolution to a long-standing outdated barrier to ensure drivers across the country continue to have year-round access to safe, low-cost, low-emission E15.”
The new House legislation, H.R. 9455, is a companion to legislation introduced last week by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and 13 bipartisan Senate cosponsors.
Yesterday, a broad coalition of more than 250 organizations and companies, including NCGA and 19 state corn grower associations, advocated for Congress to act on this issue this year to resolve ongoing uncertainty over full-market access for cleaner, low-cost fuel choices like E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88.
Despite EPA approving E15 for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles and a 2019 update to regulations, a 2021 court decision would have ended year-round market access to E15 last summer without the Biden administration using emergency authority to keep E15 in the market. The administration’s temporary action increased the fuel supply and reduced fuel prices, but fuel choice is again in question for 2023.
This new House and Senate legislation would provide a permanent remedy to the issue on a national basis, even as several Midwest governors have also initiated a state-by-state solution. Just this week, EPA submitted its draft response to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review, signaling EPA’s intent to move forward with implementing the governors’ notices.
“Following roadblocks and uncertainty on federal actions, governors took matters into their hands this year, and their initiative spurred renewed interest in a nationwide solution,” said Haag. “Corn growers support EPA implementing the governors’ notices for summer 2023, unless or until a national solution, like the one now introduced in the House and Senate, becomes law and resolves this issue once and for all.”
Ensuring continued E15 sales year-round keeps a lower-emission fuel choice in the marketplace that costs less. E15 cuts evaporative, carbon and tailpipe emissions compared to standard 10 percent ethanol blended fuels. Blending more ethanol to make E15 displaces more toxic components in gasoline, reducing exhaust emissions for cleaner air.