Biden appears to spice up ethanol to decrease gasoline costs

The Biden administration stated Tuesday it plans to assist enhance the manufacturing and sale of ethanol-blended gasoline to alleviate ache on the pump as inflation skyrockets.

President Joe Biden will announce that the Environmental Protection Agency expects to subject an emergency waiver that will droop a summer season ban on the usage of a particular blended gasoline, senior administration officers informed reporters on a name.

Biden will make the announcement throughout a go to to a bioprocessing plant in Menlo, Iowa, a state that produces a major a part of the nation’s ethanol.

At present costs, the administration’s transfer would decrease costs by about 10 cents a gallon on the 2,300 gasoline stations within the nation that provide the ethanol-blended gasoline, the White House stated.

Average gasoline costs have soared to greater than $4 a gallon in latest weeks, with the administration largely pointing the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warfare in Ukraine. Biden introduced plans late final month to launch about 1 million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for six months to curb value hikes in what he known as a “wartime bridge.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes simply hours earlier than the discharge of latest inflation numbers from the Labor Department. White House press secretary Jen Psaki warned Monday that the Consumer Price Index for March might be “extraordinarily elevated.” In February, shopper costs had been up by 7.9 p.c in comparison with the identical time final yr, pushed partly by rising gasoline costs.

“Since President Putin’s military build-up accelerated in January, average gas prices are up more than 80 cents. Most of the increase occurred in the month of March, and at times gas prices were more than a dollar above pre-invasion levels,” Psaki informed reporters. “Certainly this data will be a reminder of the need to do something and take additional steps.”

The emergency waiver will apply to what’s referred to as E15, which is 15 p.c ethanol and 85 p.c gasoline. In earlier summers, gross sales of E15 have been prohibited in a lot of the nation throughout the summer season due to EPA restrictions on gasoline-related air air pollution.

The announcement is prone to please some Republicans and Democrats within the Midwest. A bipartisan group of senators led by John Thune, R-S.D., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., lately urged Biden to permit the year-round sale of E15 gasoline to assist drive down gasoline prices for shoppers.

But the waiver can be prone to elevate air high quality considerations. A peer-reviewed journal of the National Academy of Sciences issued a report in February that discovered that the carbon depth of corn ethanol produced underneath the Renewable Fuel Standard was “no less than gasoline and likely at least 24 percent higher.”

However, an Argonne National Laboratory examine revealed final yr discovered that utilizing corn-based ethanol as an alternative of gasoline slimmed the life cycle of greenhouse gasoline emissions on common by 40 p.c, senior administration officers informed reporters, including that the company’s personal evaluation didn’t point out that the emergency waiver was prone to hurt air high quality.

“The focus here is also on making sure that we are meeting the near-term energy supply emergency and doing so by leveraging homegrown fuels,” an official informed reporters.

Molly Roecker contributed.

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