Lawmakers debate whether biofuels can replace Russian oil imports ahead of Biden ban on E15 gasoline lifted

Bipartisan lawmakers on Tuesday hailed President Biden’s decision to lift a summer ban on the sale of E15 gasoline as a way to ease some pain at the pump.

Biden is heading to Iowa on Tuesday as his administration announced a waiver allowing the sale of E15 gasoline — gasoline that uses a 15% blend of ethanol — from June 1 through September 15. The move is designed to expand U.S. access to affordable fuel supply options after gas prices hit historic highs in the wake of soaring inflation and the invasion of the Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The two GOP senators from Iowa welcomed the news of increased biofuel sales.

BIDEN ANNOUNCES AUTHORIZATION OF E15 GASOLINE IN EFFORT TO INCREASE US FUEL SUPPLY AND REDUCE GAS PRICES

“Since early last year, Senator (Chuck) Grassley and I have been pushing this administration to lift the ban on the E15 by the summer driving season — and finally, the president relented,” said said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Locally grown ethanol is a cleaner, cheaper choice for consumers, and Iowa biofuel producers are poised to meet the demand. This announcement is certainly good news for Iowans. “

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 27: Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) speaks alongside other Republican senators during a press conference on rising gas and energy prices at the U.S. Capitol on 27 October 2021 in Washington, DC. Republicans blame Bi (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Iowa GOP Rep. Ashley Hinson lobbied the House to allow E15s to be sold year-round and previously called for the national waiver for this summer.

“I am pleased that the administration is allowing E-15s to be sold this summer — a common sense solution that I have long called on President Biden to put in place,” Hinson said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “I hope this is the first of many steps the Biden administration will take to address the energy affordability crisis it has created by sidelining our national resources.”

She added, “Iowa biofuels should be at the center of a comprehensive energy strategy that will reduce costs, strengthen our fuel supply, and restore American energy independence.”

Ashley Hinson

UNITED STATES – AUG 15: Iowa State Rep. Ashley Hinson talks to CQ Roll Call at the Iowa State Fair Pork Tent on August 15, 2019 (Photo by Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll call). (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

In March, 16 bipartisan senators wrote to Biden urging him to allow the sale of E15 over the summer to curb rising domestic energy costs and displace banned Russian oil imports.

Selling readily available U.S. biofuels can ensure “consumer energy security and show that the United States is committed to reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign energy sources,” the seven Democrats and nine Senators wrote. from the GOP to the President.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow speaks after the closing vote on Loretta Lynch's nomination for Attorney General, on Capitol Hill in Washington April 23, 2015. After weeks of tough negotiations, the Senate is set to to pave the way for the long-delayed confirmation of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder Jr. as Attorney General.  REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTX1A0IM

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow speaks after the closing vote on Loretta Lynch’s nomination for Attorney General, on Capitol Hill in Washington April 23, 2015. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (Reuters)

Senator Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was among the senators who signed the letter.

“Increasing cleaner fuel produced by American producers will help reduce costs at the pump for everyone,” Stabenow, D-Mich., said in a statement to Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “President Biden is tackling Putin’s price hike by tapping into American energy technology with biofuels our farmers make right here at home.”

The top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. John Boozman, blamed Biden for high gas prices, citing his decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and ban new energy development on federal lands. . But we welcomed the E15 decision as a positive step forward.

“It is high time for the Biden administration to continue increasing domestic energy sources,” Boozman, R-Ark., said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “America’s farmers are proud to help meet our energy needs, and they’ve asked Washington to let them do more to help address the current food and energy security challenges facing the world.”

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States is currently $4,098, down from a high of $4,331 set on March 11, according to AAA. Gas prices fell as the United States, Mexico, Japan, Germany and Canada announced the release of millions of barrels of crude oil from emergency oil stocks.

Historically high gasoline prices come as inflation hits a 40-year high.

INFLATION RISE 8.5% IN MARCH, REACHING NEW HIGH IN 40 YEARS

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index — which measures a slew of goods including gasoline, health care, groceries and rent — rose 8.5% in March. from a year ago, the fastest pace since December 1981, when inflation hit 8.9%. Prices jumped 1.2% in the one-month period from February, the biggest month-over-month jump since 2005.

Joe Biden meeting on infrastructure with labor and business leaders at the White House

US President Joe Biden holds an infrastructure meeting with labor and business leaders at the White House in Washington, US, July 22, 2021. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) rose 1.2% in March on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.8% in February, the Bureau of United States Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index has increased by 8.5% before seasonal adjustment.

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Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., welcomed Biden’s announcement and urged him to make it permanent.

“I have long led the campaign for the sale of E15 throughout the year because it will help lower prices for families at the gas pump,” Fischer said in a statement. “If President Biden is serious about cutting costs for Americans, he should allow E15 sales through the summer, through the energy crisis and beyond. It would be good for families, the environment, and rural America.”

FILE - In this April 8, 2014 file photo, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., flanked by Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Voters in Nebraska on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, will choose U.S. Senate nominees for both parties from crowded candidates hoping to claim the seat held by incumbent Fischer.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In this April 8, 2014 file photo, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., flanked by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/AP Newsroom)

the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to issue a national emergency waiver to allow the sale of E15 from June 1 through September 15. The Biden administration said the move would help increase fuel supplies and save money for American families.

At today’s prices, E15 can save a family 10 cents per gallon of gasoline on average, according to the White House.

Fox News’ Kelly Laco, Brooke Singman and Megan Henney contributed to this report.

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