The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule allowing year-round sales of E15 this week. While the rule would finally give consumes access to E15 during the summer driving months, a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) reform package also included in the rule tempers biofuel supporters’ optimism.
Year-round access to E15 would provide a much needed boost in corn demand for corn farmers nationwide enduring consecutive years of declining farm income. However, the included RIN reform package will need to be carefully reviewed before the rule is considered an overall win for farmers and biofuel supporters.
RINs serve as the backbone of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by providing an incentive to refineries and gas retailers to blend ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. With any reforms weakening the RIN market, the volume of ethanol blended into our fuel supply could be drastically reduced.
Once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, it will launch a 30-day comment period that will end on April 29. The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) will work with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) in the coming days to review the rule and assess any potential impact from RIN reform. Both organizations will be providing testimony during the comment period.
The EPA currently plans to finalize the rule by June 1. But with many opposing the rule change, legal challenges are also expected after the EPA publishes a final rule, which would further delay year-round E15 sales.