By John Herath
Farm Journal Media
The on-again, off-again saga of EPA rulemaking for year-round sales of 15% ethanol blended fuels is back on, according to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. He told the grower delegations at Commodity Classic in Orlando Friday that newly-confirmed EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler has found a way to finish the rulemaking in time for the summer driving season.
“There’s nothing like confirmation processes to get you moving faster, and he (Wheeler) had his confirmation hearing this week,” Perdue explained. “He figured out how to get the rule done by June the first for E15 year-round, and he was confirmed yesterday. So congratulations Mr. Wheeler.”
EPA approved the use of E15 in all vehicles made in 2001 or later back in 2011, but regulations limited use of the fuel to winter months. President Donald Trump promised in October 2018 to open up use of the fuel year-round, but the change has been subject to a lengthy rule making process that was delayed by the government shutdown.
Meanwhile, Secretary Perdue urged his EPA counterpart to send public signals to the marketplace that E15 will be ready for the summer driving season.
“I’m going to encourage him to send a signal out to the industry that it will be done. And frankly, he had told me about discretionary enforcement meaning that we’re going to turn off our radars and not check out fast you’re going in that effort. So I’m hoping he’ll go ahead and say that on the record and send the signal to the people that they can proceed with E15 through the summer this year.”
Summer blend fuels kick in June 1, so stations will have to end sales of E15 for non flex-fuel vehicles on that date if the new rules are not in place.