Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt voiced support for allowing the sale of E-15 gasoline year-round during his visit to Nebraska, but that support came with qualifiers.
Pruitt told the Common Sense Nebraska coalition he supports the higher ethanol gasoline blend.
“I am for the E-15. I think it should occur,” Pruitt stated during a meeting held at the Nebraska Farm Bureau headquarters in Lincoln. “I think it makes no sense whatsoever for this country to face a situation where you can only sell a product nine months a year.”
Still, Pruitt cautioned it could take time and a lot of negotiations with various parties for the year-round sale of E-15 to become a reality.
Gov. Pete Ricketts dismisses suggestions Pruitt didn’t give strong enough support to E-15.
“I think the language was very strong. We heard his full-throated endorsement for E-15,” Ricketts tells reporters when asked about the issue.
Ethanol blended gasoline normally contains a 10% blend of ethanol. The ethanol industry has pushed for the 15% blend as compatible with automobiles and better for the environment. It also, of course, would drive up demand for ethanol.
Approving the year-round sale of E-15 faces opposition from refineries which don’t want to mix the higher blend of ethanol in their gasoline.
At present, E-15 is not sold during the summer months. That three-month gap makes many gas stations and convenient stores reluctant to have E-15 pumps.
Ricketts says Nebraska must keep pressing the issue.
“We’d love to see that E-15 rule making start moving forward, but there’s also other constituencies involved here as well,” Ricketts acknowledges.
Nebraska is second behind only Iowa in the production of ethanol.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson says he believes Pruitt when he endorses the year-round sale of E-15 but admits it has become a complex issue.
“We certainly believe that the sooner we can move to year-round E-15, the sooner we will resolve a lot of those issues,” Nelson tells reporters. “And so, I think that’s good.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]