Fischer introduces bill to ensure year-round availability of E15

By Erin Voegele | November 30, 2022

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., on Nov. 29 introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022. The bill aims to allow the year-round sale of E15 nationwide. The Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and American Coalition for Ethanol are among the groups speaking out in support of the bill.

The bill updates current fuel regulations by extending the current 1-pound psi Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to fuel blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol. The RVP waiver currently applies only to fuel blends with up to 10 percent ethanol.

“We’ve long known that unleashing the full power of ethanol saves consumers money at the pump, supports family farmers, and boosts U.S. energy security,” Fischer said. “Now, however, we’ve been able to bring critical oil/gas, biofuel, ag, and transportation stakeholders to the table around a common-sense solution. With this strong coalition of support, it’s time Congress act to make year-round E15 a reality.”

Cosponsors of the bill currently include Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Tina Smith, D-Minn.; John Thune, R-S.D.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; and Mike Rounds, R-S.D.

Earlier this month, a broad coalition of energy and agriculture groups sent a letter to Congress urging the swift adoption of legislation that would result in equal regulatory treatment for all gasoline blends containing 10 percent ethanol (E10) or more, including gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15). That letter was signed by Growth Energy, the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Petroleum Institute, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, National Association of Convenience Stores, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, NATSO, representing truckstops and travel plazas, the RFA and SIGMA: America’s Leading Fuel Marketers.

The RFA has spoken out in support of Fischer’s bill, noting it would supersede an effort by eight Midwestern governments to make regulatory changes that would assure the availability of E15 sales year-round in their states.

“For the first time in history, ethanol producers, oil refiners, fuel retailers, equipment manufacturers, and farmers have all come together to support legislation that ensures American families can choose lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 at the pump every single day of the year without interruption,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “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. It provides a simple, straightforward solution that will finally remove a burdensome and nonsensical barrier to broader deployment of cleaner, more affordable fuels. We are highly encouraged by the broad and diverse support that this effort is receiving, and we urge Congress to move quickly to adopt this commonsense legislation.”

Growth Energy stressed the bill would save Americans money and lower carbon emissions. “This summer, in the face of record-high gas prices, drivers across the country found savings at the pump of nearly a dollar per gallon thanks to E15 availability,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “In addition to putting money back in the pockets of American families and enhancing U.S. energy security and independence, E15 offers a lower-carbon fuel choice. In fact, a nationwide move to E15 would reduce carbon emissions by more than 17.62 million tons, the equivalent of taking 3.85 million cars off the road each year. While last summer’s temporary E15 waiver from the Biden Administration helped show the consumer benefits of E15, a permanent fix is vital to delivering and growing lower-cost, lower-carbon options at the pump and providing certainty to the fuel market. We’re grateful to Senators Fischer, Klobuchar, and other biofuel champions across the country for working with all involved stakeholders to finalize a solution for year-round E15 ahead of the 2023 driving season.” 

ACE has also endorsed the bill. “Ensuring uninterrupted availability of E15 year-round in all parts of the country has been an urgent priority for our industry and we are enormously grateful for the tremendous leadership of Senator Klobuchar, Senator Fischer and others by introducing this legislation to clarify the statute ahead of the 2023 summer driving season,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE.

“Achieving a national, permanent solution for E15 year-round is best done through Congress. While the Biden Administration’s emergency waiver this summer showed the benefits of E15 through lower pump prices and greenhouse gas and tailpipe emissions, without this legislation, it is possible to lose E15 sales next summer.

“ACE looks forward to continuing to help foster bipartisan support for this legislation to ensure E15, a clean and safe fuel with lower RVP emissions than E10 and straight gasoline, can still be sold next summer,” Jennings continued.

A full copy of the bill is available on Fischer’s website