The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed lifting a summer ban on higher-ethanol blends of gasoline, helping farmers but putting the agency on a collision course with Big Oil, which has called the move illegal.
The proposal to broaden sales of so-called E15 marks the latest flashpoint in an ongoing battle between the corn and oil industries — two crucial constituencies for President Donald Trump — over America’s biofuels policy.
Corn farmers support any move by Washington that would expand their sales into the multibillion-gallon biofuel market, but oil companies dislike the competition, and refiners say adding ethanol to their fuel costs them a fortune.
“Consistent with President Trump’s direction, EPA is working to propose and finalize these changes by the summer driving season,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a press release. “We will be holding a public hearing at the end of this month to gather important feedback.”
E15 gasoline contains 15 percent ethanol, versus the 10 percent in most U.S. gasoline.