- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2018

President Trump on Thursday said the administration will approve year-round sales of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol — a major policy shift for the federal government that indicates the White House is looking to strike a deal between the biofuels industry and its critics.

Mr. Trump made the declaration in the Oval Office on Thursday morning.

“We’re going to raise it up to 15 percent … makes a lot of people happy,” the president said. “We’re going to go to 12 months … We’ll go from eight months to 12 months.”

Under current EPA regulations, E15 is banned during the summer months due to increased ozone concerns, but supporters say those concerns are outdated and no longer valid, given today’s technology.

Mr. Trump’s statement comes as the White House tries to cut a deal between the ethanol industry and critics such as Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, who wants to see the federal ethanol mandate — known as the Renewable Fuel Standard — radically overhauled.

The White House’s E15 olive branch came as welcome news to industry leaders.

“We are certainly pleased to hear reports the president has endorsed year-round use of E15, providing consumers access to a higher octane, lower priced fuel option,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, the sector’s largest trade group. “It will be welcome news to consumers across the country, farmers who have worked to build value-added markets here at home in the face of increased uncertainty in export markets, and the investment community that has received conflicting signals regarding future markets for next generation biofuels.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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