Convenience-Store Associations Urge Delaware Senator to Support Year-Round E15 Sales

Enactment would avoid unnecessary disruption, complexity and price-increases in U.S. gasoline market, NACS, NATSO and SIGMA said
E15 summer sales
Photograph: Shutterstock

The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) have sent a letter urging Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) to back year-round sales of E15.

Carper is the chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Historically, government regulations prohibit sales of the 15% ethanol blend during summer months in some areas due to concerns about ozone pollution. Allowing sales of ethanol-blended gasoline helps keep gas prices lower, supporters say.

“If enacted, such legislation would allow for more environmentally friendly fuel to be sold at a lower cost to consumers. As importantly, it would signal to the market that long-term investments in lower carbon transportation energy—including biofuels and EV charging stations—will be rewarded rather than punished. The legislation’s enactment would avoid unnecessary disruption, complexity and price-increases in U.S. gasoline markets this coming summer,” the industry associations said in the letter.

Carper, who is not running for reelection this year, is known for his desire to support “hardworking constituents at refineries in the mid-Atlantic,” the letter said.

“In reality, year-round E15 legislation would simply decrease emissions and lower prices at the pump. One can certainly support commonsense climate policy while remaining an unambiguous champion for organized labor,” the letter said.

In August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which can overrule the summer E15 regulation, issued its fourth emergency fuel waiver of the year, extending sales of gasoline with a 15% ethanol blend to Aug. 29. The EPA cited the war in Ukraine and disruption of the supply and distribution of purchasable barrels of crude oil and petroleum products in the global market for the U.S. as the factor for the need to extend the waiver.

“Common sense tells you if you blend more ethanol, the effect is going to be to reduce the finished price of that gasoline that’s delivered to retail,” said Geoff Cooper, president and chief executive officer at the Renewable Fuels Association in August. “That’s exactly why EPA issued those emergency waivers—to allow E15 to continue to be sold this summer and they did the same thing last summer. Gas prices are pretty high.”

The wholesale price difference between a gallon of denatured fuel ethanol, containing 98% ethanol/2% denaturant, is 60 cents to 70 cents lower than a gallon of ethanol-free 100% gasoline, he said in August.

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