Biden to End Summer Ban on 15% Ethanol Gas

New strategy to lower gas prices to be announced Tuesday
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2022 6:44 AM CDT
Biden to Unveil New Plan to Lower Gas Prices
A bicyclist rides past a price board at a gas station in San Francisco, on April 4, 2022.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Newser) – President Biden on Tuesday will announce plans to allow the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol this summer in a bid to further lower prices at the pump, according to reports. Most gasoline sold contains up to 10% ethanol. The 15% ethanol blend, E15, costs 10 cents less per gallon on average. But access to E15 is limited in some states between June 1 and Sept. 15 as it is thought to contribute to smog, per the AP. Expected to issue an emergency waiver closer to June, the Environmental Protection Agency reportedly believes offering E15 at the 2,300 gas stations where it's sold, mostly in the Midwest and South, will not have a major environmental impact, USA Today reports.

Biden is expected to make the announcement as he visits a Poet ethanol plant in the small town of Menlo, Iowa, per the Des Moines Register. Officials in Iowa and other corn belt states have been pushing for his administration to allow the blend of 15% corn-based ethanol to be sold in the summer as regular gas is averaging about $4.11 per gallon, up from $2.86 a year ago. "Homegrown Iowa biofuels provide a quick and clean solution for lowering prices at the pump and bolstering production would help us become energy independent once again," said Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, per the AP. Most gas stations that sell E15 are in areas without air quality issues, per USA Today.

The EPA also allowed year-round use of E15 in 2019 under President Trump. However, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit later determined the agency had overstepped its authority. Without elaborating, senior administration officials tell USA Today that Biden will take a different approach. "Inflation figures for March, due out Tuesday, are likely to bring more bad news for the Biden administration," per the AP. White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday predicted the Consumer Price Index for March would be "extremely elevated" largely due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "We are taking a range of steps to reduce the price of gas to move us toward a long-term, more clean energy economy," she added. (Read more gas prices stories.)

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