The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) this week announced an official review of a request by governors in nine states to change federal law to allow permanent year-round E15 sales.

Nine states – Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin – formally asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin rulemaking that would allow the sale of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol (E15) throughout the entire year. The sale of E15 is currently restricted from June to September by federal law.

Earlier this year, EPA allowed summer sales of E15 nationwide under an emergency waiver authority. EPA in September 2022 indicated that it intends to conduct rulemaking in 2023 to allow for the year-round sales of E15, and the OMB review is a formal step toward that rulemaking.

EPA in April denied dozens of Small Refinery Exemptions, which would have lowered the required blending levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

EPA has also recently announced a rule setting 2023-2025 Renewable Volume Obligations, which are the levels of alternative fuels that are required to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply annually. 2023 marks the first year the statutory provisions governing the RFS program require EPA to modify, or “reset,” blending obligations if blending targets in recent years haven’t been met. While obligations for corn ethanol have been met in each year of the RFS, obligations for advanced fuels have not, forcing the EPA to conduct this rulemaking.