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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Growth Energy, representative of the producers and supporters of ethanol, launched a seven-figure campaign aimed at promoting legislation that will allow U.S. retailers to offer more biofuel choices to customers year-round.
The bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act is now awaiting action in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It would extend the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) volatility waiver to gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol (E15), creating a level playing field for E15, according to the association.
A hearing for the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act is scheduled for June 14.
"This legislation is essential to America's continued leadership in low-carbon biofuels. It will lift a needless burden on retailers and let drivers pick their own fuel — saving money and improving air quality. For too long, outdated rules have forced drivers to switch to less environmentally friendly options at the pump during the summer driving season, when fuel prices reach their peak," said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.
"After three years of hard work, we finally have a chance to enact a fix. Growth Energy is committed to ensuring that lawmakers and their constituents know exactly why this is so important, especially when it comes to lifting market barriers for biofuels. This campaign will highlight how red tape is limiting consumer choice at the pump, denying drivers access to cleaner, more affordable fuel options," she added.
The campaign will feature TV and digital ads in Washington, D.C., and in key markets across the country. The ads encourage voters to lend their support to members of Congress who are looking for a compromise.
"From a retail perspective, this minor fix would be a major relief to those offering E15 today and remove one of the biggest barriers for those wanting to offer E15," wrote Mike Lorenz, executive vice president for Sheetz Inc., in a recent column on the topic. "This fix doesn't change anything about renewable fuel targets, but it does give consumers who want a cleaner, higher-octane and more affordable option the ability to choose for themselves. Not to forget, it also supports a homegrown industry responsible for supporting hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs."
The legislation has broad, bipartisan support in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. It would update laws that currently limit the sale of E15 from June 1 to Sept. 15, often discouraging retailers from offering higher biofuel blends altogether. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, E15 can help to "reduce harmful volatile organic compound emissions, displace cancer causing emissions, and reduce smog forming potential, as well as cutting greenhouse gases … E15 is also typically two to 10 cents cheaper per gallon than E10."
Earlier this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt also expressed his hope for a fix but acknowledged the need for greater certainty in the laws governing RVP.
The bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act was introduced in March and has 18 bipartisan sponsors, including Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Senate champions have sought to bring the bill to a vote in the next few weeks.