The White House said Tuesday that President Joe Biden will suspend a federal rule to expand the use of E15 blend gasoline in another effort to give motorists more affordable prices at the pump.
The announcement comes as Biden tries to solve a major pocketbook issue for residents ahead of the midterm elections in November. According to AAA Tuesday, the cost of gasoline is $4.10 per gallon.
In his announcement, Biden will say that the Environmental Protection Agency will allow E15, which uses ethanol, to be sold this summer. A federal ban presently in place prevents E15 from being sold from June 1 through Sept. 15 because of air pollution and smog concerns during the summer months.
Biden is traveling to Iowa on Tuesday and will make the announcement from Menlo at 3:45 p.m. EDT. Menlo is located about 45 miles west of Des Moines.
Ethanol fuels are produced from biomass such as corn and sugarcane. Iowa was chosen as the site of Biden’s announcement due to its vast corn industry.
All gasoline in the United States contains about 10% ethanol. Raising that level to a 15% blend will save drivers about 10 cents per gallon, White House officials said.
“An emergency waiver can help increase fuel supplies, give consumers more choice to get lower prices, and provide savings to many families,” the White House said in a statement.
“At current prices, E15 can save a family 10 cents per gallon of gas on average, and many stores sell E15 at an even greater discount.”
“For working families — families eager to travel and visit their loved ones — that will add up to real savings,” it added. “Allowing higher levels of blending will also reduce our dependency on foreign fuels as we rely more heavily on home-grown biofuels.”
The Energy Department says that E15 is sold at 2,300 stations in 30 states, but that’s only a small part of the 150,000 fuel stations in the U.S. passenger gasoline market.
Ethanol fuel is produced from biomass such as corn, which is farmed in large quantities in Iowa, where Biden will announce the rule suspension on Tuesday. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
Biden has repeatedly called the gas surge “Putin’s price hike,” a result of the Russian war in Ukraine.
“The president believes that the actions of a dictator half a world away should not impact what families pay at the pump here at home,” the White House statement said.
“Today’s actions also reinforce the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving real energy independence and commitment to a long-term strategy to spur smart development and adoption of sustainable, homegrown fuels.”
AAA said on Monday that the cost of gasoline in the United States has declined by about 8 cents per gallon over the past week. Biden has made other moves to help lower costs, including tapping the U.S. strategic reserve for an extra 180 million barrels over the next several months.
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