Exclusive-US EPA to announce temporary expanded sales of higher-ethanol gasoline blend – sources

By Thomson Reuters Apr 18, 2024 | 3:53 PM

By Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw

NEW YORK (Reuters) -The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will announce by Friday plans to temporarily expand sales of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline this summer, a win for the corn ethanol industry that will likely see demand increase, three sources familiar with the matter said.

The measure would lengthen the period during which Americans can keep buying E15, a gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend, from June 1 to Sept. 15.

Adding ethanol to gasoline is known to increase smog pollution in hot weather, but research has shown little difference between E15 and the more-widely available E10 blends.

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.

The announcement comes after a push from lawmakers, including Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, and Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, who argued in a letter to President Joe Biden that allowing the expanded sales of E15 would increase energy security during unrest in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Biden’s administration has allowed temporary summertime sales of E15 the last few years in an effort to keep down gasoline prices. Those decisions were cheered by the Farm Belt, an important constituency ahead of this year’s presidential election.

The Corn Lobby has long tried to expand year-round sales of E15, an effort that culminated in February, when the administration approved a request from Midwestern governors that would allow summertime sales of E15 in their states, starting in 2025.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)