Apr 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden announces E15 gas waiver for summer in bid to lower prices

oe Biden speaks about gas prices and infrastructure at the POET Bioprocessing plant in Menlo, Iowa on April 12, 2022
Joe Biden speaks at the POET Bioprocessing plant in Menlo, Iowa on April 12. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden announced Tuesday that he will waive the summertime ban on E15 gasoline in an effort to combat soaring gas prices.

Why it matters: A new inflation report released Tuesday revealed that inflation spiked to 8.5% in March, the highest rate in over 40 years.

Driving the news: E15 gas contains a mix of regular gasoline and 15% corn-based ethanol, rather than the 10% of ethanol that standard gas contains, per CNN.

  • Because E15 gas contains less crude oil — which is currently very expensive — switching to E15 could lower gas prices, though energy experts contend the impact could be minimal, per the New York Times.

The big picture: E15 used to be available year round until 2011, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moved to ban it during the summer, per CNN.

  • The EPA will issue an emergency waiver to allow E15 to be sold from June 1 and Sept. 15, according to a White House fact sheet issued Tuesday.
  • The summertime ban was instituted in the first place over concerns that E15 gas can contribute to smog in hot weather, per the Times.
  • Late last month Biden ordered the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to release 1 million barrels per day on average for the next six months, in another effort to help bring down gas prices.

What they're saying: "I'm here today because homegrown biofuels have a role to play right now," Biden said during his visit to an ethanol plant in Menlo, Iowa.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine "has driven up gas prices and food prices all over the world," he added.
  • "The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to issue an emergency waiver, allowing E15 gasoline, that uses more ethanol from homegrown crops, to be sold across the United States this summer in order to increase fuel supply."
  • E15 gasoline is 10 cents cheaper than E10, sometimes even more, Biden said.
  • "It's not going to solve all our problems. But it's going to help some people, and I'm committed to do whatever I can to help, even if it's an extra buck or two in the pockets as they fill up, will make a difference in people's lives."
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