New ethanol fuel rules 'Great Deal for America,' says AG Secretary Perdue

    WASHINGTON (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) -- The Trump Administration is making changes to the fuel you use to drive your car. On Tuesday, President Trump announced a plan to allow the sale of gasoline with higher blends of ethanol during a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

    It’s a major boost to corn farmers, especially in the Hawkeye State, which produces the most corn-based ethanol in the country.

    “We think it’s great a deal for energy independence for America, first for all. Choice for consumers, good for corn farmers, good for the AG economy, and we think overall a great news story for America,” said Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

    Perdue sat down for an interview with Sinclair's National Correspondent Michelle Macaluso.

    The proposal will allow E15 gasoline, to be sold year-round. E-15 is gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol. Most gasoline blends have no more than 10 percent ethanol.

    “If we see oil at a $100, corn prices are depressed, so we think ethanol for fuel can really lower our driving costs for the summer and throughout the 12 months,” said Secretary Perdue.

    Currently, E15 can only be sold nine months out of the year and not during the summer months, because of concerns that it increases smog. Environmental groups believe the proposal violates the Clean Air Act.

    But Secretary Perdue disagrees.

    “I’m perplexed by that argument. I don’t think there’s any evidence at all that way. I frankly think it’s the other way around,” he said.

    The oil industry is not happy with the plan either. The American Petroleum Institute (API) believes it’s an anti-consumer policy.

    “It makes no sense to enhance or increase the amount of fuel that’s incompatible with the 75% of cars on the road,” said API spokesperson, Sabrina Fang.

    A bipartisan group of lawmakers, many from oil producing states, sent a letter to President Trump opposing the proposal. The letter was signed by 16 Republicans and four Democrats.

    “Ethanol is a good fuel source, but just don’t put the mandate on it allow the market to drive how much is out there,” said Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

    API is ready to pursue its legal options against the new plan. The Administration says its ready lawsuits, but is hopeful the new rule will be in place by next summer.

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