Economist: Year-Round E-15 Won’t Help Corn Markets

“I don’t think it will help the balance sheet this year,” says Scott Irwin, an economist at the University of Illinois. ( Farm Journal )

President Trump announced that he wants E-15 to be sold all year. While ethanol and corn industry groups alike have been pushing for year-round E-15 for years, will it really help markets? One economist says no.

Agriculture and ethanol industry groups praised the president’s announcement made in Council Bluff, Iowa last week.

“Corn farmers across the country have been advocating for year-round sales of higher ethanol blends like E15 to help grow demand, provide consumers with more options at the pump and improve economic conditions across rural America,” said National Corn Growers Association president Lynn Chrisp in a statement. “We thank President Trump for following through on his commitment to America’s farmers.”

However, one economist isn’t sure this announcement will help work through the massive corn stocks on hand, the huge crop that’s coming in from the field, or even the increase in corn acres expected next year.

“I don’t think it will help the balance sheet this year,” says Scott Irwin, an economist at the University of Illinois. “And I'm confident not for next year.”

Regardless, the renewable fuel has a long road ahead before you’ll be able to find it at a Casey’s near you. First, the EPA will need to write some rules about how to make the year-round status happen. Then those will need to be approved. In addition, the oil industry is expected mount a court challenge.

The administration's other focus is the EPA’s use of the small refinery exemptions or SRS. Irwin says ethanol usage has been holding strong, despite the EPA running some refineries out of the mandate to produce gasoline blended with ethanol.

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