Federal Legislation Introduced To Allow Higher Ethanol Blends To Be Sold Year-Round
Last week, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced the “Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022,” which would allow the year-round nationwide sale of ethanol blends higher than E10.
Additional cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tina Smith (D-MN), John Thune (R-SD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and Mike Rounds (R-SD).
While there is no guarantee Congress can pass the bill legislatively before the end of the year, EMA is willing to support the year-round sale of E15 provided Congress appropriates sufficient funding for USDA’s Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) with guaranteed set asides for small businesses.
Specifically, the grant program should include an “80-20” cost share, with the federal government covering 80 percent of the capital expenditures associated with UST system upgrades to entice small businesses to make necessary upgrades.
UST system retrofits or replacement can cost more than $100,000 per site in capital expenditures which are far beyond the ability of small business fuel retailers with multiple sites to pay.
The EPA confirmed in an E15 UST system compatibility guidance document in January 2020 that said, “most older and even some newer existing UST systems (which includes but is not limited to tanks, pumps, ancillary equipment, lines, gaskets, and sealants) are not fully compatible with E15 and require modification before storing E15.”