RFA: American voters support expanded use of E15

By Renewable Fuels Association | March 31, 2022

Three in four American voters support expanding the availability of E15 as a way to replace petroleum imports from Russia, and more than 80 percent support increasing domestic renewable fuel production as a way to lower record-high gas prices, according to a recent nationwide survey conducted by Morning Consult.

With national average gas prices hovering above $4 per gallon, 83 percent of the registered voters surveyed said they support increasing the domestic production of renewable fuels like ethanol as a way to bring down fuel prices, with 52 percent saying they “strongly support” such action. Since the beginning of March, ethanol prices have been nearly $1 per gallon lower than gasoline prices at wholesale terminals where gasoline is blended. Accordingly, blending higher levels of ethanol into gasoline brings down the price of the fuel sold to consumers at the pump.

Meanwhile, 72 percent of the survey respondents said they support increasing the availability of E15 as a way to replace oil imports from Russia. If E15 replaced just 30 percent of the E10 currently being sold in the United States, the nation could entirely replace the amount of gasoline supplied annually from Russian petroleum imports.

“These results shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as E15 and other higher-ethanol blends are the lowest-cost fuels available anywhere in the market today,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “But unless the Biden administration acts immediately to allow summertime sales of E15, the cheapest fuel available at the pump will disappear on June 1 and Americans will be faced with another price hike. As this survey clearly shows, voters understand that using more American-made ethanol can immediately help bring pump prices down and enhance our nation’s energy security. At the same time, higher blends of ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe pollutants linked to cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and other health concerns.” 

Voters also expressed support for increasing the production of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs), which can run on fuel containing up to 85 percent ethanol (E85), with 69 percent saying it is important for the U.S. government to incentivize automakers to increase FFV output. Flex fuels like E85 are currently selling at a 30-50 percent discount to regular gasoline, providing FFV drivers with an incredible opportunity to save money at the pump.

The poll showed that voters prefer increased domestic renewable fuel use to lower pump prices over increased domestic production or importation of crude oil. In fact, more than half of the survey respondents who expressed an opinion opposed increasing crude oil imports to lower pump prices.

“The implications of this polling data are clear: voters across the country want our nation’s leaders to act immediately to increase the production and use of low-cost, low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol to bring down pump prices and help the environment,” Cooper said.

Finally, the Morning Consult survey showed that two-thirds of voters support the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires renewable fuels to comprise an increasing share of the nation’s fuel supply each year.