Videos of farmers and corn producers hit the airwaves across corn country states, like Iowa, all summer urging President Trump to lift restrictions allowing for year-round E15. That’s a blend that uses 5 percent more ethanol than standard gasoline.
And last week, those videos paid off.
“We’re going with E15 year-round,” Trump said to a crowd of supporters during a Make American Great Again rally in Iowa.
Some are calling it “corn country politics” in which the President is following through on a 2016 campaign promise ahead of the 2018 midterms attempting to win over farmers and rural voters hurt by his tariffs.
Locally, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is among the critics of Trump’s decision. Toomey is one of 20 lawmakers who signed a bipartisan letter urging Trump not to roll back the regulations. In the letter, the Senators call it a “one-sided approach” that could damage engines and worsen air quality.
"I continue to believe that changes to the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) should improve conditions for both agriculture and the refining industry,” Toomey said in an Oct. 9 statement on his website.
The move could help out some retailers such as Pennsylvania-based Sheetz, which sells E15 at 40 percent of its stores. Nearly 1-in-6 E-15 pumps nationwide – 240 out of more than 1,400 – is found at a Sheetz store, fuel the company identifies as “Unleaded 88” on their pumps. Top company executives support Trump’s decision.
“The seasonal restriction on E15 has caused confusion among drivers and deprived them of a more affordable, cleaner burning and better performing fuel during the peak driving season,” said Mike Lorenz, Sheetz’s executive vice president for petroleum and supply.
E15 had been banned during the summer driving months due to increased smog pollution.
Traditionally, E15 can be used in vehicles made in 2001 or newer. But you’re asked to check with your manufacturer before you fill up.