Ethanol Exec Confident of E15 Announcement, Details Will Wait

President Trump is expected to ease restrictions on higher ethanol blends when he speaks in Iowa Tuesday. ( South Dakota Corn )

By John Herath and Tyne Morgan

Emily Skor, the CEO of Growth Energy says she is highly confident President Donald Trump will announce plans to expand availability of high blends of ethanol when he campaigns in Council Bluffs Tuesday. The details of that plan, however, will likely take months to materialize.

We've been waiting for months and months,” Skor tells U.S. Farm Report’s Tyne Morgan. “The President has signaled repeatedly and statements in Washington as he's been on the road, and as members of his administration have been on the road in the Midwest, and we do believe that tomorrow the President will announce his commitment to change the regulations, so consumers can purchase fuel with higher blends of ethanol year round.”

Biofuel groups have been pushing for a waiver of Reid Vapor Pressure rules that would allow 15% blends of ethanol to be sold all year. Current rules restrict summer sales of blends higher than 10% ethanol to only flex-fuel vehicles.

While the ethanol industry expects the president to make an E15 announcement in Iowa, the change will not be immediate.

“What likely will happen is the President will announce a commitment to make a change, and that will kick off a rulemaking process,” Skor explains. “EPA is the agency that has to go through the rulemaking, so it'll be several months of details coming out and back and forth in a public comment period.”

The anticipated announcement has been met with opposition from the oil industry. A bipartisan group of 20, mostly oil state, Senators sent a letter to the president Thursday urging him to not allow year round sales of E15.

Skor anticipates that pressure will result in some acknowledgement of the oil industry in Tuesday’s announcement.

“There's likely to be some package on greater transparency around the compliance method for complying with renewable fuel standard,” Skor says. “We don't have any details on what that (package) might entail. So, we, too, are looking forward to that.”

Skor says full year availability of E15 will create a 2-billion-bushel corn demand gain for U.S. farmers annually.

“I think the administration understands that the American farmer is hurting right now,” Skor says. “Right now, net farm income is at a five year low. If you look at the price of corn, you look at the margins for ethanol, we’re hurting in rural America right now. I think the president and the administration understand they have got to do something to boost up the farmer that has been so supportive of this administration.”

The Trump event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Central on Tuesday at the Mid-America Center.