IL Corn has been working for years to achieve what’s called parity for E15, a high-octane fuel that is a fifteen percent blend of ethanol and 85% regular unleaded gasoline. Current regulations limit its use to just eight months of the year, an unnecessary, burdensome rule that makes ethanol blends less competitive in the marketplace. President Trump told reporters today that he intends to rectify that situation. The President’s announcement comes less than twenty-four hours ahead of a Congressional hearing where Paul Jeschke, on behalf of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, will testify that the E15 parity is a must-have for the nation’s corn farmers.
IL Corn hopes that the President will support going a step further by granting the RVP waiver to all blends E10 and above. It is unclear whether the statement from the president, today, achieves this particular detail. As Paul Jeschke will testify, in part, tomorrow, “Unfortunately, EPA regulations are stifling both fuel and engine innovations, preventing consumers from enjoying the performance benefits and fuel savings of midlevel ethanol blends.
Until these barriers are addressed, it is simply not true that a minimum octane standard would 'provide the biofuel industry with the opportunity to expand its market share,' as some of my fellow witnesses claim.
For ethanol to be free to compete in the market on the basis of its value as an octane enhancer, EPA’s anti-competitive regulations must be corrected. Some of these regulatory concerns include:
- The same RVP standards for all fuels containing at least ten percent ethanol;
- A new high-octane, midlevel ethanol alternative certification fuel, such as 98-100 RON E25;
- A fuel economy equation that does not penalize ethanol blends;
- A technology-neutral vehicle economy and GHG regulatory scheme that treats all alternative fuels alike to the extent that they reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,
- An accurate lifecycle analysis of the greenhouse gas benefits of corn ethanol, like those that USDA and the Department of Energy have developed."
It is unclear at this point if the move to year-round E15 is connected to a broader deal that has been discussed behind closed doors at the White House since February. Senator Cruz tweeted soon after news broke about the President’s decision that Mr. Trump also said he planned to support refineries.
Meanwhile, as Reuters reporter Jarrett Renshaw writes, “Global energy giants Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil have asked U.S. regulators for exemptions to the nation’s biofuels policy that have historically been reserved for small companies in financial distress, according to sources familiar with the matter.” These waivers, in the opinion of IL Corn, are not in line with the intention of the waiver system.
If you’re on twitter, it would be well received by the White House, no doubt, to thank the President on his personal twitter handle @realdonaldtrump for stating his support for America’s farmers and ethanol through the RVP waiver for E15.