Home Business U.S. senators introduce bill to expand E15 gasoline sales, with support from oil group

U.S. senators introduce bill to expand E15 gasoline sales, with support from oil group

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NEW YORK — U.S. senators from Nebraska

and Minnesota introduced legislation on Tuesday that would

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expand nationwide sales of E15, a gasoline with a higher blend

of ethanol, after gaining support for the bill from an oil

industry trade group for the first time, Senator Deb Fischer

from Nebraska told Reuters.

The legislation, introduced by Fischer and Senator Amy

Klobuchar from Minnesota and supported by the American Petroleum

Institute (API), would mark a huge win for the ethanol industry

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and corn farmers who have repeatedly tried to expand sales of

E15 but have faced hurdles.

While it is unknown if the bill has the support it needs to

pass both the House and Senate to become law, the backing of the

oil industry has lifted a notable political obstacle.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) anti-smog

regulations currently restrict summertime sales of E15, even

though research has shown the higher percentage blend may not

increase smog relative to the 10% blend called E10 that is now

sold year-round.

Reuters reported this month that the API began cooperating

with biofuel industry groups about legislation after governors

from major corn-producing Midwestern states earlier this year

requested the EPA allow for expanded sales of E15 in their own

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states. The governors’ proposal raised oil industry concerns

about fuel regulations differing from state to state.

“We have good support,” Fischer told Reuters. “When you look

at the impact it’ll have, especially on the central part of the

United States, the Midwest and part of the south, I think that’s

extremely important.”

Fischer and Klobuchar’s legislation, if passed, would

nullify the governors’ request and avoid patchwork E15

expansion, Fischer said.

“By allowing for the year-round sale of E15 nationwide while

also preserving access to lower ethanol gasoline blends, this

bipartisan legislation strengthens the reliability of the fuel

supply chain and ensures American consumers have access to the

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fuels they depend on every day,” said Will Hupman, API’s vice

president of downstream policy.

The legislation also has the support of Senator Kevin Cramer

from North Dakota, a co-sponsor of the bill. Cramer’s support is

significant, as North Dakota is one of the top oil-producing

states, Fischer said.

Organizations including the API, the Renewable Fuels

Association (RFA) and the National Farmers Union wrote to

congressional leaders this month to urge them to adopt

legislation to expand nationwide E15 sales.

“We thank Sens. Fischer, Klobuchar, and other renewable fuel

supporters in the Senate for introducing this legislation, which

brings much-needed consistency and stability to the

marketplace,” said RFA President Geoff Cooper, after Tuesday’s

legislation announcement.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Marguerita Choy and

Stephen Coates)

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