As families continue to feel the crushing weight of rising gas prices – a problem without a one-size-fits-all solution – I am grateful that an environmentally friendly, homegrown fuel that’s produced in my home state of Iowa will provide a more affordable fuel option this summer.
While consumers often choose E15 at the pump and rely on the extra savings, a court case decided last year would have forced fuel retailers to stop selling E15 blends at the beginning of June. This court decision was extremely disappointing, and I worked tooth and nail to make sure this cleaner, more affordable fuel could still be made available to my constituents and those across the country.
My fellow House Biofuels Caucus Co-Chairs and I introduced legislation to make the sale of E15 year-round permanent. I also led a bipartisan letter with 28 of my colleagues urging the President to take action to ensure that our nation’s fuel supply wouldn’t be interrupted by the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
I’m proud to say that our work paid off. Thanks to action from President Biden, everyone can today drive to their local gas station and fill up using E15. At the direction of the President, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a waiver allowing E15 to be sold through the summer months this year.
E15 runs, on average, about 10 cents cheaper when compared to other fuels – sometimes up to 60 cents cheaper per gallon – and will save families money throughout the summer months of heavy travel.
In addition to saving money at the pump, those who are filling up with E15 can know that they’re playing a role in the fight against the climate crisis, as higher blends of biofuels emit less greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by upwards of 50% compared to gasoline – and is getting cleaner every year – and a nationwide move to E15 would reduce carbon emissions by more than 17 million tons, equal to removing nearly 4 million cars off the road, and significantly reduces the amount of smog and tailpipe emissions.
They’re also supporting our rural communities - providing market opportunities for farmers and good paying jobs across Iowa and the Midwest. Last year alone, Iowa’s ethanol plants produced over 4.2 billion gallons of E15, which resulted in $10 billion in the pockets of Iowa’s farmers. Overall, the ethanol industry supports nearly 350,000 jobs and contributes roughly $40 billion to the economy.
We must use every tool in our toolbox to lower energy prices while combatting climate change. It has been a hard-fought battle to continue access to E15 this summer, and I’m thankful to President Biden for taking this much-needed step to make this a reality. However, we must continue to work on a permanent fix and increase our investment in biofuel infrastructure so more Americans can take advantage of the benefits of biofuels.
Next time you stop at your local gas station this summer know that E15 – the cheaper, homegrown fuel that saves you money, advances clean energy solutions and supports farmers and rural communities – will be available. And I’ll be doing everything I can in Washington to make sure it’s always available so every American can take advantage of this low-cost alternative.
Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, of West Des Moines represents Iowa’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She serves on the Committee on Financial Services and Committee on Agriculture.For more ag news and opinion pieces, visit www.Agri-Pulse.com.