LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued a new rule authorizing the year-round sale of E15. In September 2018, Governor Ricketts had joined President Donald J. Trump to announce the commencement of the rulemaking process to approve year-round E15.
“Thank you to President Trump, Administrator Wheeler, and the EPA for delivering on their promise to approve E15 by the summer driving season. Promises made, promises kept!” said Governor Ricketts. “As the summer driving season kicks off, consumers now have the option to choose a fuel that’s cheaper for them and better for our state’s environment and economy. Increased demand for ethanol will also be a boon to our state’s corn farmers during a time of low commodity prices.”
“The Nebraska Ethanol Board commends the EPA for fulfilling the administration‘s promise to put out a rule before summer driving season that allows for the year-round, nationwide sale of E15,” said Sarah Caswell, the board’s administrator. “This rule change, in concert with complementary policies and regulations that help incentivize infrastructure investments, is a vital step forward for the increased demand and use of higher blends of ethanol throughout the country. In a favorable regulatory environment, we are confident that the new rule will lead to greater demand for Nebraska ethanol, which in turn will benefit the nation’s economy, environment, and public health. It will also help our farmers, producers, and retailers. This is a day to celebrate!”
Currently, E15 can be marketed September 16th through April 30th. This final rule from the EPA allows E15 to be sold all year long.
“E15 is approved for any vehicle model year 2001 and newer,” said Tim Scheer, farmer from St. Paul and District 5 Director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “This makes up over 90% of all vehicles on the road today. Additionally, E15 is the most widely tested fuel ever. Well over 4 billion miles have been driven on E15. It’s a great performing, higher octane fuel that saves consumers money.”
Nebraska produces the second-most ethanol among U.S. states. Over 1,400 rural Nebraskans work directly in ethanol production, and the state’s ethanol output has reached record highs of 2.2 billion gallons per year. Expanding the market for ethanol will likely raise production even more.
The State of Nebraska is successfully working to introduce greater volumes of higher ethanol blends—E15, E30, and E85—into the nation’s fuel supply to save consumers money, benefit the environment, and create more opportunity for Nebraska’s farm families. In a few days, on June 3rd, the State will start an EPA-approved program to study the use of locally sourced E30 in conventional state-owned vehicles. The research on these vehicles’ mileage and maintenance needs will help demonstrate that E30 can both reduce consumers’ costs and contribute to a cleaner environment.
The State is also investing in the distribution network of higher ethanol blends. Through participation in the USDA’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership program, Nebraska doubled the number of blender pumps in the state in just two years, from 2016 through 2018. Nebraska now has flex fuel pumps at more than 100 locations, giving drivers expanded access to high-content ethanol fuels.