U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a longtime member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today applauded Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to permit the year-round sale of E15 fuel (15 percent ethanol-blended fuel) in the United States, a win for consumer choice and energy security that Thune has sought for nearly 11 years, including significant and ongoing engagement with the current administration. This proposed rulemaking is the first step in the regulatory process to allow the year-round sale of E15 and follows through on President Trump’s commitment on this issue.
“I’m glad the EPA is moving forward with the E15 rule and is on pace to secure a win for American farmers and consumers,” said Thune. “I’ve pushed for the year-round sale of E15 for over a decade, and I thank President Trump for his commitment to seeing this through. Extending E15 sales through the summer driving season will expand consumer choice for a lower-cost and cleaner fuel, reinforce our energy independence, and provide a shot in the arm for our farmers. I look forward to further reviewing the rule to make sure its provisions will have the intended effect to expand ethanol sales.”
Thune first called for a waiver process to permit higher blends of ethanol in 2007. Most recently, on January 24, 2019, Thune met with then-Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to stress the importance of completing the rule by the June 1st start of the summer travel season, when E15 sales become restricted, and how easing this regulatory burden will assist South Dakota agriculture.
In April 2018, Thune joined 17 of his Senate colleagues in writing to then Administrator Scott Pruitt to highlight the benefits of E15, and they encouraged him to address the Reid Vapor Pressure issue that was preventing year-round E15 sales. He also wrote Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August 2018 to reiterate his support for biofuels. In October, Thune joined President Trump in the Oval Office for the administration’s announcement that it would initiate a rulemaking process for year-round E15 sales.
Additionally, Thune has actively sought transparency with, and ultimately a resolution to, the EPA’s unprecedented use of small refiner exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which have kept billions of gallons of ethanol from being blended and have distorted markets. Year-round E15 sales will lower RFS compliance costs for all parties and inject stability and certainty into the ethanol market.