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Lower gas prices promised, other costs ignored

Lower gas prices promised, other costs ignored


Lower gas prices promised, other costs ignored

An announcement this week from the White House is fueling debate among think tanks and special-interest groups.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing an emergency waiver to allow the sale of a 15% ethanol blend that is usually prohibited between June 1 and September 15 because of concerns that it adds to smog in high temperatures.

The Renewable Fuels Association celebrates the announcement.

"We applaud President Biden and his administration for recognizing that low-cost, low-carbon ethanol should be given a fair opportunity to strengthen our energy security and reduce record-high pump prices," RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper said in a statement.

He claims giving fuel retailers the freedom to offer E15 this summer will result in lower fuel prices for hardworking Americans, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce tailpipe pollution linked to cancer, heart disease, respiratory illnesses, and other health concerns.

"As our nation copes with energy price inflation and strives to enhance energy security and diversity, we salute President Biden for turning to America's farmers and biofuel producers for ingenuity and solutions," Cooper added.

Burnett, Sterling (Heartland Institute) Burnett

Sterling Burnett of The Heartland Institute sees things differently.

"It is a bit cheaper because the ethanol in it is cheaper, but … you also get lower fuel economy," he begins. "So, people will be fueling up more. I'm not sure that's the tradeoff they want."

Burnett also points out that it was just last year that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a Trump-era rule that wanted to sell E15 year-round.

"Even as an emergency waiver, it violates the Clean Air Act," Burnett notes. "E15 will increase air pollution during the summer months, which is why it's not typically allowed. Allowing it on emergency basis, saying, 'It's going to be okay; we're going to let your air get dirtier so you pay a little bit less at the pump' -- that seems to me to maybe not be a great tradeoff, especially for people who have breathing problems."

Burnett also has concerns about how E15 fuel will affect small engines and older model cars.