The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is aiming to publish a draft rule allowing year-round sales of higher ethanol blends in petrol by February and end deliberations on the proposal by May, reported Reuters on 17 October.
In the previous week, President Donald Trump had announced his plan to lift the summertime ban on sales of petrol with up to 15% ethanol (E15), which had been imposed by the EPA to reduce smog.
The proposal would allow E15 sales from next summer, Associated Press said. Current regulations prevented retailers in much of the country from selling E15 from 1 June to 15 September.
“The announcement marked a win for farmers eager to expand the market for corn-based ethanol, and was seen as a political victory for Trump ahead of congressional elections in November,” Reuters said.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said allowing E15 to be sold all year round would give consumers greater access to clean, higher octane fuel while expanding market access for ethanol producers.
“The ability to sell E15 all year would also bring a significant boost to farmers across our country and provide a significant boost to rural America,” said spokeswoman Rachel Gantz.
In 2011, the EPA approved the use of E15 in all light-duty vehicles built in 2001 or later, meaning that more than 90% of the cars and trucks on US roads today were legally approved to use the fuel, the RFA said.