News Briefs

Kelly, Davids welcome EPA waiver of limitations on sale of E15 fuel during summer months

By: - May 3, 2023 1:47 pm
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, proposed suspension of the federal tax on gasoline. Her likely GOP opponent, Amanda Adkins, said the idea of setting aside the 18-cent-per-gallon tax in 2022 was political theater. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Gov. Laura Kelly and U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, both Kansas Democrats, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's waiver allowing sales of E15 fuel in the summer months ought to help consumers, manufacturers and the agriculture industry. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly and U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids lauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for granting an emergency waiver to permit sale of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol to continue during the summer months in Kansas.

Kelly said in a statement Wednesday the waiver went into effect May 1 and would last through May 20, which would be the federal statutory maximum of 20 days. The EPA is expected to issue additional waivers to extend the exemption in states such as Kansas.

“With inflation still burdening our families and workers, it is essential that Kansans have a less expensive alternative fuel option to get to work, drive their kids to school or travel across our great state,” Kelly said.

The EPA reported the adjustment was affiliated with the military conflict in Ukraine and would reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels, build U.S. energy independence and support American industry. The U.S. Clean Air Act allowed the EPA administrator to temporarily waive fuel requirements in times of shortage. In parts of the country, E15 can be sold year round. On May 1 in Kansas, fuel companies typically must shift to E10.

In 2022, the EPA similarly authorized extended marketing of E15 in Kansas to moderate record-breaking price inflation at the fuel pump as supplies were threatened by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The strategy last year saved American consumers an estimated $57 million in fuel costs. Currently, a gallon of E15 cost about 25 cents less than the alternative E10.

Davids, who represents the 3rd District in the Kansas City area, said ethanol produced domestically from locally sourced raw materials could be purchased at lower prices than unblended gasoline. She said the EPA’s action ought to be helpful to the agriculture industry’s heavy fuel users.

“This is the right move in the short term, but I’ll continue focusing on lowering costs in the long term as well,” Davids said. “Folks are already dealing with high costs right now, and this emergency waiver lowers the cost of gas while also supporting local agricultural producers and reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil supply.”

She also proposed bipartisan legislation that would make sale of E15 a permanent feature in Kansas and other states.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International.