By Stephanie Kelly
NEW YORK (Reuters) – US governors from eight Midwest states, many of which are major corn producers, asked the Biden administration on Thursday to apply rules that would allow gasoline blended with a higher level of ethanol to be sold year-round in their states .
Governors from Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota said in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency that allowing the blend, known as E15, year-round would help lower gasoline prices, which have risen to over $4 per gallon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden unveiled plans to allow summertime sales of E15, which blends gasoline with 15% ethanol. A summertime ban on E15 was imposed over concerns it contributions to smog in hot weather, though research has shown that the 15% blend may not increase smog relative to the more common E10 sold year-round. E10 contains 10% ethanol.
Biofuel advocates, however, want a more permanent action that allows for year-round sales of E15. Expanded sales of the blend would likely broaden demand for corn-based ethanol.
Under the Clean Air Act, governors can ask the EPA to put the specifications for volatility of E15 and E10 on equal footing. The Midwest governors told the EPA on Thursday that they are pursuing this route to enable year-round E15 sales.
“These states have guided the way forward on E15,” said Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper, “and we call on other states and the EPA to follow their lead, so that the benefits of E15 can be permanently enjoyed by drivers across the nation .”
The states involved in Thursday’s action are home to 57% of the nation’s 2,512 stations currently selling E15, the RFA said.
(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Cynthia Osterman)