E15 set for year-round availability

Illinois farmers meet with EPA region administrator to discuss the expanded access.

Cathy Stepp, Region 5 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, talks with farmers during a meeting on Paul Jeschke’s Grundy County farm. EPA’s modified rule allowing year-round E15 sales was discussed. (Photo by Mark Pressburger)

By Andrea Casali


 

There will likely be another fuel option at gas pumps this summer. The Trump administration plans to soon announce U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval of a modified regulation lifting the summer ban on E15 fuel.

A move welcomed by U.S. corn growers, the decision will allow gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol to be sold year-round. Sales of the fuel were previously limited to winter months.

“This announcement is a win-win for Illinois farmers,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert, Jr. “We believe year-round sales of E15 will yield significant, measurable and noticeable economic and environmental benefits for rural, suburban and urban residents.”

IFB and Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA) staff met with EPA Region 5 Administrator Cathy Stepp this week to discuss the change.

“There have been a lot of different partners in the development of this rule,” Stepp said. “USDA, the White House and most importantly stakeholders who will be most impacted by this rule – and that comes back to corn growers across the country.”

Stepp said the move to increase E15 opportunities and availability will open the market significantly.

“Overall, the goal is to expand our domestic fuel supply. And of course, to understand the importance biofuels play in that role,” Stepp said.

The nearly two-hour discussion prompted conversation surrounding RIN market reform proposals, pump-labeling requirements and potential changes going forward, infrastructure challenges and higher-octane fuels.

Stepp took questions from ICGA staff members, who welcomed the “good news message” – a message the organization had advocated for and eagerly awaited during the last few years.

Speaking to the group gathered at his Grundy County farm, Illinois Corn Marketing Board District 5 Director Paul Jeschke said lifting the summer E15 ban marks a strong beginning to a new marketing program.

“While it’s not going to all of a sudden dramatically increase billions of additional gallons of ethanol, we are very happy this is happening,” said Jeschke, an Illinois Farm Bureau member.

Andrea Casali serves as IFB media relations specialist.

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