Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne says President Biden’s move to ensure E15 may be sold in the summer months shows biofuels like ethanol have an important place in the country’s energy portfolio.
Gasoline with a 15% ethanol blend is sold at a lower price than E10 and, in some places around the country, the per-gallon price is 50 cents less. “I think it is important for the president to come out and tell the American public this,” Axne said. “And why not pick Iowa, where you can literally lower it, and make that a national statement?”
Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, will join Biden at the POET ethanol plant near Menlo for today’s announcement. Axne is co-chair of the Biofuels Caucus in the U.S. House and she says year-round sales of E15 have been a key goal for the group.
“Not only have I quite honestly pulling the president aside whenever I see him and, of course, mentioning this,” Axne said, “but I have led and written letters to the White House from my fellow colleagues from states where this is a huge impact.”
The next step, according to Axne, is getting up to a billion dollars in federal grants over the next five years for gas stations that install pumps that can dispense fuel with higher blends of ethanol.
“My original bill was $500 million — $100 million each over five years. It turned into $1 billion in the Build Back Better bill that passed out of the House,” Axne said. “We’re really pushing to keep that in any reconciliation package as well and I think it’s getting good traction.”
Congress uses a process called reconciliation to draft the federal budget.
In 2015, President Trump directed the Environmental Protection Agency to over-ride Clean Air Act regulations and allow year-round sales of E-15, but a recent court ruling would have blocked summertime sales without Biden’s intervention. The EPA will be issuing an emergency waiver for E-15 sales from June through mid-September, as the administration and ethanol advocates work to establish permanent rules for E15 sales.