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Trump administration lifts summer E15 ban

Year-round E15 sales raise concerns about misfuelling.

Year-round E15 sales raise concerns about misfuelling.

President Trump said on Friday that his administration is lifting a summertime ban on E15 in an effort to help soybean and corn farmers who have been hurt by the trade war.

The oil industry and environmental groups criticized the move, according to The New York Times.

“Extending this waiver is an anti-consumer policy that risks causing costly engine and fuel-system damage to nearly three out of four vehicles on the road today,” Frank Macchiarola, a vice president of the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for oil companies, told the newspaper. “This premature policy attempts to push E15 into the market before it is ready.”

The agency also issued new rules to improve transparency in the market for biofuel credits, which refiners must acquire under the nation’s biofuel law, but the steps stopped short of what many refiners were seeking, according to Reuters.

The marine industry was among those that criticized what it said was a “legally dubious” move, calling it “deeply disappointing,” yet unsurprising.

“For over a year, the recreational boating industry and countless other stakeholders have been working hard to convey the harmful effects of E15 and dissuade the administration from moving forward with this now official rule,” said Nicole Vasilaros, National Marine Manufacturers Association government and legal affairs vice president, in a statement.

The boating industry has opposed gasoline with more than 10 percent ethanol because studies have shown it damages engines.

"Our industry remains steadfastly opposed to this policy given a simple set of facts: E15 destroys engines in a wide-range of everyday consumer products, contains less energy content than gasoline and other biofuel alternatives, and is terrible for the environment — all of which are reasons the summer sale ban on E15 was implemented in the first place,” Vasilaros said.

A lack of consumer education and protection efforts further jeopardize the safety of boaters and consumers who use small gasoline engines, she said.

"More than 60 percent of Americans mistakenly assume that any gas sold at their local gas station is safe for all of their products, and nearly nine in 10 say the government should do more to protect consumers from misfuelling with E15,” Vasilaros said. “And with hard-to-read, often hidden warning labels serving as the only real misfuelling prevention measure currently in place, it’s hard to fathom why EPA rebuffed even modest reforms to at the pump safeguards.

"Expanding the sale of E15 is an experiment that failed once before and will fail again,” she added. “And we will continue fighting this counterproductive policy to the end."

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