Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Trump's EPA unveils plan to pump up ethanol as Big Oil cries foul

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released its proposed rule lifting a summer ban on higher-ethanol blends of gasoline to help farmers, putting the agency on a collision course with Big Oil which has called the move illegal. The proposal to broaden sales of the so-called E15 rule marks the latest flashpoint in an ongoing battle between the corn and oil industries - two crucial constituencies for President Donald Trump - over America’s biofuels policy. Corn farmers support any move by Washington that would expand their sales into the multibillion-gallon biofuel market, but oil companies dislike the competition and refiners say adding ethanol to their fuel costs them a fortune. “Consistent with President Trump’s direction, EPA is working to propose and finalize these changes by the summer driving season,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a press release. “We will be holding a public hearing at the end of this month to gather important feedback.” E15 gasoline contains 15 percent ethanol, versus the 10 percent in most U.S. gasoline. A summertime ban on E15 had been imposed years ago over concerns that it contributes to smog in hot weather, though recent studies have shown its impact on air quality may not be significantly different from that of E10. The American Petroleum Institute, the largest oil trade group, called on the administration to scrap what it called an “anti-consumer policy,” noting for example that some U.S vehicles could lose their warranties if they use E15. It called the proposal “contrary to the law.”...MORE

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