The Trump administration has decided to approve expanded use of ethanol fuel, a move that will help corn farmers hurt by the trade conflict with China.
The decision allows for year-round sale of gasoline with a 15 percent mix of ethanol, which has historically been at the pumps for eight months a year. The rule is expected to be effective within days.
Oil companies and environmentalists oppose the move and argue it could lead to higher prices at the gas pumps and increase air pollution during the summer months, which is when ethanol use was previously banned. They are expected to sue to try to block the move.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler framed the rule changes as a fix to a troubled program that will boost sales for farmers and ethanol producers.
“I think it is an effective compromise,” Wheeler said. “What we’re trying to do is maintain the integrity of the system, not play favorites on any one side.”
The EPA decision is likely to expand ethanol sales by about 2 percent in the next five years, according to Growth Energy, an advocacy group for ethanol producers.
Source: Wall Street Journal