June 11, 2018

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
[email protected]

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering a proposed rule that would ban use of E16 or higher blends of ethanol in non-flexible fuel vehicles. The rule is raising flags amongst farm groups who are concerned such a rule would devastate the growth potential for markets for American grown and produced biofuels.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging EPA not to finalize the proposed rule, Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS), as it is written.

“If the REGS rule were finalized as proposed, it would codify a ban on E16+ fuel blends in non-flexible fuel vehicles,” said the letter. “This would unduly restrict use of ethanol’s ‘clean octane’ in the U.S. gasoline market, inflicting severe damage on the nation’s family farmers, and the public health and welfare.”

Johnson and Sombke urged EPA not to finalize this provision, and for the agency to correct its misinterpretation of the Clean Air Act’s “substantially similar” provision, which is being used now to limit the use of higher blends of ethanol in gasoline.

“The most cost effective and environmentally safe way for EPA to comply with Section 202(l) (of the Clean Air Act) is to encourage the widespread use of EXX/E30 blends in 98 – 100 RON higher octane gasoline” said the letter. “This is consistent with automakers’ requests to support higher octane fuels.  Unfortunately, the REGS proposed rule would do the exact opposite—it would prevent their use.”

Johnson and Sombke noted that EPA recently recognized the economic and environmental benefits of higher blends of ethanol, and that an EPA decision to move forward with a ban on E16+ blends in non-flex fuel vehicles would undermine those benefits.

“Higher octane, lower carbon fuels made with mid-level ethanol blends will provide enormous societal benefits, and represent a win-win-win for automakers, consumers, the environment, and farmers,” said the letter. “However, finalization of the prohibition of these fuels as proposed in the REGS rule would deprive the nation of such benefits.”

“For that reason, we respectfully request that you remove the above-referenced provision limiting the use of mid-level ethanol blends from any final REGS rule and issue a new interpretation, clarifying that the Clean Air Act’s ‘substantially similar’ provisions for gasoline no longer require a cap on ethanol.”


About NFU
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

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