After months of delays, Donald Trump will make his return to Iowa on Tuesday for a rally at Council Bluffs — where he plans to announce that his administration will expand access to gasoline with higher ethanol blends year-round, according to reports from the Des Moines Register.
A senior official in the Trump administration revealed on Monday that President Trump has made overtures to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch new rules regarding the use of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, or E15 — specifically allowing it to be used all year.
The situation will immediately move into the review phase, with the new E15 gasoline rules expected to come into full effect by the summer of 2019.
Along with loosening the rules on E15, Trump is also expected to announce that reforms will be made to the status quo of biofuels credit trading, which the White House believes will “provide greater transparency and help reduce volatility in the market,” according to the Des Moines Register report.
Currently, E15 gasoline is banned from being used during the summer months due to allegations that it causes smog. Ethanol advocates say that there is no truth to these claims. All gasoline engines are compatible with E10, the U.S. Energy Information Administration details.
The new rules regarding E15 should prove to be of great benefit to both Iowa farmers and American consumers, with the current record high American crop harvests having depressed the price of corn and soybeans. Trump’s trade war with Canada, Mexico, and China has also played a role in the lower price.
President Donald Trump will tell Iowans on Tuesday during a campaign rally in Council Bluffs that he's opening the door to year-round access to gasoline with higher ethanol blends. https://t.co/8x7lJB9ALt— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) October 9, 2018
The current income of American farmers is looking to be rough, having tumbled to 50 percent of a previous 2013 high.
Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy — an ethanol advocacy group based in Washington D.C. — touted the announcement as great news, saying, “It’s wonderful for the American farmer. It’s great for biofuels producers. And it’s great for the American consumer, so we’re thrilled.”
Skol has advocated that by using higher ethanol blends, corn use could rise by as much as 2 billion bushels.
For Iowa, which stands as the United States’ largest producer of corn, ethanol, and biodiesel — this is incredible news. Roughly half of the corn stock produced in Iowa goes toward making ethanol, as well as it’s byproduct — distiller’s grain — which farmers use to feed livestock.
“This action will be good for agriculture industry as well as the economy overall,” said Skol.
This announcement is expected to boost Trump’s reputation in America’s heartland. While he was backed by farmers during the 2016 election, Trump’s trade wars have potentially cost Iowa $2.2 billion, with the majority of that potential cost having been shouldered by the agricultural sector.