In a letter sent Thursday to President Obama, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association asked for a temporary suspension of the federal petroleum mandate in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The group said suspending the mandate would allow the sale of higher ethanol blends like E15 and E20, helping victims combat rising gas prices.
Following the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a waiver for clean gasoline requirements, also known as reformulated gasoline, for the affected area until Nov. 20.
In the letter, IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw says IRFA agrees with the decision to grant a waiver, but the group asked the President to "go one step further" by suspending the federal petroleum mandate
"Taking such a step could allow consumers to temporarily use E15 or E20, a blend of 15% or 20% ethanol, without having retailers first go through the normal hurdles to offer the product," Shaw wrote in the letter.
Shaw says the E15 and E20 blends burn cleaner, and is cheaper.
"Hundreds of millions of gallons of ethanol are in storage and dozens of ethanol plants are running at reduced rates or have been idled. By removing the restrictions to higher ethanol blends on a temporary basis consumers win, clean air wins, and American energy security wins," Shaw wrote.
Federal law requires that a minimum of 85% of every gallon of gas sold in America be from petroleum sources. If retailers sell or consumers buy a fuel blended with less petroleum and more ethanol, for example, they are subject to a $37,500 per day fine by the federal government, IRFA says.