Today, during a visit to Menlo, Iowa’s POET Ethanol Plant, President Joe Biden announced the Environmental Protection Agency is planning a federal emergency waiver allowing sales of E15 ethanol throughout the summer.
Usually, E15 ethanol is only sold in most of the country from Sept. 16 to May 31. EPA plans to take final action to issue the emergency waiver closer to June 1. E15 is currently offered at 2,300 gas stations in the country, where it can serve as a more affordable source of fuel.
“This won’t solve all our problems with fuel prices, but it will definitely help,” Biden said. “We will invest $100 billion to add more pumps to be able to sell this fuel more widespread.”
The emergency waiver can help increase fuel supplies, give consumers more choice to get lower prices and provide savings to many families, according to Biden. “E15 fuel is generally 10 cents cheaper than E10 blends. This will help families save money, even if it’s only a couple dollars at the pumps,” he said. “This will also help us get toward more energy independence.”
Carrying through summer
“An increase in E15 production through the summer months and year-round means more stability for our corn grind and have more stable markets for our corn,” making decisions easier for farmers, according to Lance Lillibridge, Iowa Corn Growers Association president.
The renewable fuels industry accounts for more than $5 billion of Iowa’s GDP, generating $2.5 billion of income for Iowa households and supporting almost 50,000 jobs throughout the state.
Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said the announcement is a step in the right direction, but it is also long overdue and needs to become a permanent decision. “Iowans have been asking the administration to allow year-round sales of E15 long before fuel prices spiked," he said.
The renewable fuels industry has continued to benefit the Midwestern states and has provided a path toward helping the country become more energy independent. Naig said this will lead to stronger markets for Iowa’s farm families; more jobs in rural communities; cleaner-burning, lower-cost fuels for consumers; and less dependance on foreign energy.
Lillibridge, a Vinton, Iowa, farmer, said making E15 the mainstay for ethanol production will be a win all the way around — for corn farmers, livestock producers and consumers. “From the corn side of things, E15 will help keep corn markets stable. From a livestock point of view, it will keep DDGs [dried distillers grain] readily available as a feed source,” Lillibridge said. “No matter how you look at it, it’s good for the corn farmer, the livestock producer and the consumer.”
National Corn Growers Association President Craig Edgington, also an Iowa farmer, said, “Corn growers thank President Biden for ensuring drivers continue to have access to a lower-cost fuel choice and for acknowledging how renewable ethanol helps reduce prices, lower emissions and improve our nation’s energy security. Farmers are proud to contribute to cleaner, less-expensive fuel choices.”