American Petroleum Institute spokesman Frank Macchirolla won’t go so far as to say President Donald Trump’s recent decision is political, but he does say it fulfills a campaign promise the president made frequently in farm states.
“So, from that standpoint, I’m not surprised by their decision,” Macchirolla tells Nebraska Radio Network. “However, having said that, I think there are ways to approach the RFS that are more constructive.”
President Trump announced the decision to lift federal regulatory restrictions and allow the sale of the higher-ethanol blended gasoline year-round during a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, playing both to Iowa and Nebraska agricultural interests. Iowa is the number one state in ethanol production, followed by Nebraska.
E-15, at present, cannot be sold during the summer months, a restriction the ethanol industry says has suppressed sales of the fuel.
Macchirolla even suggests an EPA waiver exceeds its authority, hinting a lawsuit could be coming. Macchirolla says it would be better to work on legislation. He says a bipartisan group in Congress has been working on a measure to update and reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which he says could incorporate E-15 policy.
Macchirolla claims very few cars on the road can handle the higher ethanol content in E-15, adding it would be detrimental to small engines.
He says there’s no question an E-15 mandate would help farmers and the ethanol industry.
“But, at some point, a mandate also acts as a ceiling,” Macchirolla says. “And so, the opportunity to compete in a free market, in my mind, is a much better opportunity than one with a limited mandate.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]