Farm Progress

Biden administration issues waiver allowing summer E15 sales

Policy has broad bipartisan support

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

April 28, 2023

2 Min Read
Pumping ethanol fuel at gas station
Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency waiver allowing E15 sales this summer. According to an EPA release, the decision will help American agriculture and manufacturing while also reducing the nation’s reliance on foreign fuels. The agency cited higher fuel prices caused by the War in Ukraine as justification for the decision. According to figures proved by EPA, E15 is approximately 25 cents per gallon cheaper than E10.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting Americans from fuel supply challenges resulting from the ongoing war in Ukraine by ensuring consumers have more choices at the pump,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan says. “Allowing E15 sales during the summer driving season will not only help increase fuel supply, but support American farmers, strengthen U.S. energy security, and provide relief to drivers across the country.”

EPA officials say that they do not expect the decision to have any impact on air quality. Research conducted by the agency has shown no significant impact on evaporative emissions when the 1-psi waiver currently in effect for E10 fuel is extended to E15.

Ethanol industry stakeholders praised the announcement. Now they are hoping to make the rules permanent.

“We are grateful EPA intends to issue new waivers effectively covering the 2023 summer season as it did in 2022, but a permanent remedy to expand consumer access for E15 long term is still necessary," American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings says. "This annual drama of threatened summertime E15 sales, followed by last-minute reprieves, has got to end. It's wearing on retailers selling E15 today and is a major reason more marketers aren't offering it. Consumers could be saving 5 to 15 cents per gallon and emissions could be reduced if Congress would fix the problem and pass legislation making E15 legal year-round."

Agriculture leaders from both parties, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D- Mich., and House Agriculture Committee Chair GT Thompson, R- Pa., have expressed support for summer E15. A bipartisan bill known as the Fuel Retailer Choice Act is currently making its way through congress. It would authorize E15 sales across the country throughout the year.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D- Minn., and Sen. Deb Fischer, R- Neb. introduced the Senate version of the bill. Klobuchar says that readily available biofuels produced in the U.S. are good for drivers and farmers alike.

“By ensuring consumers can access E15 gasoline throughout the year, our bipartisan legislation will benefit our economy, decrease prices at the pump, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” she said. “It’s critical that we diversify our fuel supply and invest in affordable energy solutions.”E15 has long been prohibited in summer months due to concerns over increased smog. In response to a petition from eight Midwest state governors, the EPA announced plans on March 1 to allow summer E15.

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About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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