It’s possible the 15% ethanol blend called E-15 will be available for sale this summer, according to U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley.
The Iowa Republican was among some 20 senators from both parties who signed a letter Monday to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, urging him to reverse the rule which forbids the sale of E-15 during the summer months.
“I would guess that he would have to, based upon the president wanting him to do it,” Grassley says, “so I expect that he will — and he better.” In a White House meeting a few weeks ago, Grassley notes that President Trump said he was committed to the year-round sale of the biofuel.
“I was in the cabinet room with other senators and congressmen and four governors, including our Governor Kim Reynolds, when he said that’s what he was going to have done,” Grassley says, “and we’ve had Pruitt saying he was looking at it for the past 16 months he’s been in office.” Pruitt has been under fire for allowing oil refineries to get so-called hardship waivers for which some believe they’re not entitled.
Grassley says it’s entirely possible the oil industry will sue over the E-15 issue, if the fuel is made available all year. “Big oil is hurting the small family farmers by the refineries getting these exemptions from these waivers,” Grassley says. “That’s really cutting down on the amount of ethanol that’s being produced from corn and that’s going to put greater weight on the drop in corn prices.”
Iowa is the nation’s number-one ethanol producer with 43 plants churning out nearly one-third of the nation’s ethanol.