Kansas Corn: Biden’s E15 Waiver Is Good News for Farmers, Consumers

April 12, 2022: Thanks to an emergency waiver announced today by the Biden Administration, drivers in Kansas and other states can continue to fill up with E15 (15% ethanol) fuel through the summer months. E15 is a lower cost, high octane fuel, that offers environmental benefits through lower emissions and reduces reliance on foreign oil. The Kansas Corn Growers Association (KCGA) said corn farmers, consumers and the environment would benefit from the waiver.

“We appreciate President Biden’s announcement of the waiver to allow continued use of E15 through the summer driving season. Ethanol is a homegrown, affordable, clean air fuel solution that has been making a positive difference in our nation’s fuel supply and the environment for years,” Kansas Corn CEO Greg Krissek said.

Ethanol is a key market for farmers whose corn is used as livestock feed, ethanol production and exports. Ethanol plants produce a clean fuel, and a third of the grain used for ethanol returns as DDGS, a valued livestock feed. Kansas Corn has been active in helping build retail infrastructure for E15 and higher ethanol blends and promoting ethanol blended fuels.

Outdated RVP regulations restrict fuel retailers’ ability to market E15 during the peak driving season. Today’s emergency authority is not a permanent fix to allow drivers access to E15 year-round, but it will remove the barriers for this summer. A recent Harvard-Tufts study showed that corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46 percent, compared to gasoline. Increasing ethanol blending from 10 percent to 15 percent further reduces GHG emissions.

“With over 75 stations across Kansas offering E15 fuel, often marketed as Unleaded 88, it has been a true American success story, and we need the certainty of year-round E15 sales to continue to expand the number of stations that offer this affordable, clean, domestic fuel, especially in urban markets,” Krissek said.

Many Kansas leaders took action including Kansas Senators Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran, Representatives Tracey Mann, Jake LaTurner and Ron Estes, as well as Governor Laura Kelly and Attorney General Derek Schmidt who all signed letters urging the administration to grant the waiver.

The President directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use its existing authority to prevent drivers from losing access to lower-cost and lower-emission E15, a higher ethanol blend often marketed as Unleaded 88. Without action from the Biden administration or Congress, a 2021 court decision was set to end full-market access for E15 beginning this summer.

Ethanol has been priced an average of 80 cents less per gallon than wholesale unblended gasoline through March, and drivers normally save up to 20 cents or more per gallon where E15 is available. Ethanol adds billions of gallons to the U.S. fuel supply every year, lowering demand for high-cost oil while increasing fuel options available to consumers. Corn farmers’ increased productivity and efficiency have resulted in higher yields while using fewer resources to meet food, feed and fuel demand while keeping consumer prices down.

The Kansas and National Corn Growers Associations will continue to work with the administration to create a long-term solution to allow year-round E15 sales, and for passage of the Next Generation Fuels Act which would create a pathway to higher ethanol blends, cleaner fuel and more efficient vehicles for years to come.

The Kansas Corn Growers Association represents its members in legislative and regulatory issues and promotes corn and its products.