Will The Approval of E-15 Blend Really Help Lower Gas Prices?
Yesterday, President Joe Biden used the backdrop of Iowa to tout his latest step to lower the price of gas across the United States. The President ended a ban on the summertime use of a higher ethanol-blended gasoline called E-15. The administration claims that E-15 will be nearly 10 cents cheaper per gallon than other blends. And while the news is a shot in the arm for corn-producing states like Iowa, how much will E-15 really help?
First, let's start with the number of gas stations that actually have the E-15 blend available. QZ.com reports that around 2300 gas stations sell E-15. That breaks down to around 1.5% of the nation's 150,000 gas stations. The remaining 98% of stations might not have the proper equipment to sell E-15. So what impact would that have on the national average price per gallon of gas? Fueling up with E-15 would shave off around 10 cents of the national average of $4.20 per gallon. QZ.com reports that if you then apply those savings to the 1.5% of stations that carry the blend, the average national gas price would fall by around .2 cents per gallon, lowering that national average to $4.19.
Another problem with E-15 is that not everyone can use it. QZ.com reports that only vehicles made after the year 2001 are compatible with the blend. The EPA hasn't approved E-15 yet for use in motorcycles, older cars, lawnmowers, or boats because the higher ethanol blend could harm some engines. Plus, since E-15 contains a high blend of ethanol than the popular E-10 blend, which makes up over 96% of gas sold in the U.S., your car's miles per gallon will also go down.
Now if you claim that Biden is simply trying to get a few more voters on his side before this fall's midterm elections, you'd be right. President Trump did the same thing prior to the 2018 midterms. The decision was overturned just last year. Who knows how much good Biden's decision will do. But if the reaction from the wildlife here in Iowa was any indication, I'd say the odds are at best, 'crappy'.