WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is moving to allow year-round sale of gasoline containing a higher percentage of ethanol, satisfying campaign promises he made to the Farm Belt, while likely provoking a battle with the oil industry.
Trump has endorsed pushing the maximum to 15% and views it as a way to expand biofuels and help farmers, according to a senior White House official. The directive wouldn’t require refineries to increase their blends, but could spur sales of ethanol and give the ethanol industry more of a grip on the market.
Trump is to make the policy announcement Tuesday, the White House official said. Afterward, Trump will travel to Iowa, the leading corn- and ethanol-producing state, for a political rally alongside Republican candidates eager to campaign on the issue.
As a concession, Trump also is proposing changes to a credit program which allow oil refiners to buy and sell credits for using ethanol, the White House official said. But those moves are unlikely to win the oil industry’s support. E15, the term for gasoline with 15% ethanol, is currently banned in summer months due to smog concerns. Trump’s action would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to allow E15 sales year-round.
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