Iowa official, IRFA ask Pruitt to lift E15 restrictions

By Iowa Renewable Fuels Association | June 01, 2018

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, yesterday called on U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to remove an unnecessary barrier to summer time sale of E15. E15 (a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) has been approved for all 2001 and newer vehicles, however, current rules restrict the sale of E15 between June 1 and September 15 to flex-fuel vehicles.

At a White House meeting on global agricultural trade issues on April 12, President Trump called the restriction “unnecessary and ridiculous” and indicated his support for the year-round sale of E15. Despite this, beginning today, June 1, the EPA will require fuel retailers in Iowa to re-label their fuel pumps and limit E15 sales to only flex-fuel vehicles.

“The state of Iowa is the national leader in biofuels production. This E15 sale restriction gives consumers less choice and will force them to buy more costly fuel at the pump. I call on Administrator Pruitt to take immediate action, follow through on President Trump’s commitment and use enforcement discretion to allow uninterrupted sales of E15 to all 2001 and newer vehicles this summer,” Naig said.

Until the formal rulemaking process to remove the E15 restriction is completed, Naig and Shaw are calling on Administrator Pruitt to not enforce the E15 summer time restriction given the order by President Trump. E15 is higher octane than the most commonly used fuel, E10, and is typically priced five to ten cents less. E15 is approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles, which account for over 90 percent of fuel purchases.

“The President has ordered EPA to remove the E15 restriction,” Shaw said. “It is unclear why it is taking EPA so long to follow through on the President’s order, but until the formal rulemaking process is completed, Pruitt should take action today to ensure motorists have access to the lowest-cost fuel choice on the market for regular vehicles. In Iowa alone, consumers could save tens of millions of dollars this summer if given the option of E15,” said Shaw.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship regulates and examines all fuel pumps, commercial scales, and fuel quality, and inspects over 42,000 fuel pumps annually.