Biden EPA Allows Summer Sales of Higher-Ethanol E15 Gasoline

(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration is using emergency powers to authorize widespread sales of higher-ethanol E15 gasoline this summer, following a strategy it employed the previous two years.

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The move is in response to rising gasoline prices and a clamor from producers of corn-based ethanol that have been frustrated by the administration’s decision to delay a permanent expansion of summertime E15 sales until next year.

The waiver announced by the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday will temporarily exempt the 15% ethanol blend from restrictions that effectively block sales across much of the country during the warmest months.

The EPA says the emergency move is in the public interest, citing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East that have put additional pressure on global energy supply chains. “The global supply of crude oil has been disrupted and remains volatile,” the agency said in its waiver, which runs from May 1 through May 20.

Additional waivers are expected throughout the summer.

The measure also could help tame pump prices that have jumped roughly 20% this year to more than $3.65 a gallon, according to auto club AAA. E15 generally sells at a discount to conventional E10 gasoline.

“This waiver is good news for corn growers and those in rural America who will benefit economically from this decision,” said Harold Wolle, president of the National Corn Growers Association. It’s also set to benefit “consumers who will save money at the pump during a busy travel season.”

Oil industry advocates have repeatedly questioned the legality of the emergency approach.

--With assistance from Se Young Lee.

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