Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would make higher-ethanol fuel blends available year-round, a top priority among Midwestern lawmakers in particular.
The sale of so-called E15, which is 15 percent rather than 10 percent ethanol, is restricted during the summer. Last year, as already-climbing gas prices spiraled following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Biden suspended the restrictions. The Environmental Protection Agency has since announced a proposed rule that would authorize its sale year-round, but it would not take effect until 2024.
“By ensuring consumers can access E15 gasoline throughout the year, our bipartisan legislation will benefit our economy, decrease prices at the pump, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “It’s critical that we diversify our fuel supply and invest in affordable energy solutions. I look forward to working with Senator Fischer to pass this bipartisan bill.”
“Our bipartisan legislation is the only permanent, nationwide solution to unleashing the power of year-round E15. It’s why we’ve been able to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders from the oil/gas, biofuel, ag, and transportation sectors to support our legislation,” Fischer said in a statement. “:”Negating the need for a patchwork of regulations will ensure all Americans can enjoy lower costs at the pump. With this unique coalition of support, I’m more optimistic than ever that we can make year-round E15 a reality.”
Fischer and Klobuchar previously introduced legislation for year-round ethanol sales in summer 2021, but that move came in the wake of a court ruling that threw out a Trump-era EPA rule allowing year-round sales.
The bill comes as the attorneys general of Nebraska and Iowa announced their intent to sue the Biden administration over the delay of the rule, citing the Clean Air Act’s provision allowing waivers for certain fuel-blending regulations. The Renewable Fuels Association, which has long backed the push for year-round sales, welcomed the bill in a statement.
“Enough is enough—it’s time to finally remove the burdensome and nonsensical barrier that has blocked consumer access to cheaper, cleaner E15 for far too long,” RFA President Geoff Cooper said in a statement. “With the summer driving season right around the corner, we call on Congress to move quickly and adopt this legislation as soon as possible.”