Policy Corner: E15 is Winning Over the West

The American West is renowned for its abundance of picturesque landscapes, snow-packed mountains, towering trees and rich variety of wildlife. No wonder policymakers in the West are intent on preserving the natural beauty of their states while tackling the daunting challenges of climate change. As lawmakers explore ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector, two Western states recently joined the movement towards cleaner renewable fuels. Governors in both Nevada and Oregon signed legislation that will give retailers the freedom to sell E15 – a renewable fuel blend made with 15% bioethanol.

Fast-Tracking State Climate Goals

These recent legislative victories show why more policymakers are embracing E15 as part of a comprehensive approach to achieving their climate goals. In 2019, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak set aggressive GHG emissions reduction targets for his state: 28% by 2025, 45% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050. In 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed the Oregon Climate Action Plan with the goals of reducing GHG emissions in her state by at least 45% below 1990 levels by the year 2035, and
by 80% by 2050.

Dramatically Cutting Emissions

How does E15 help drive down emissions? Well, a recent study showed that plant-based bioethanol is 46% cleaner than traditional gasoline. Bioethanol also replaces some of the most harmful, toxic components in gasoline, which helps clean the air — especially in heavily-trafficked communities that disproportionately suffer from poor air quality.

With five percent more renewable bioethanol, E15 is a welcome solution to state policymakers struggling to tackle emissions from the transportation sector. A study by Air Improvement Resource, Inc. showed that by switching from E10 gasoline to E15, Nevada and Oregon could soon make huge strides towards cleaner air and fighting climate change. In Nevada, replacing E10 sales with E15 could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 148,000 metric tons annually — the equivalent of removing more than 32,000 vehicles from Nevada roads. Similarly, Oregon could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 190,000 metric tons annually — the equivalent of removing more than 41,000 vehicles from its roads — by switching from E10 to E15.

Saving Money at the Pump

Because E15 is approved for use in nine out of ten light-duty vehicles on the road today, it also has the potential to drive enormous fuel savings across the states. E15 typically saves drivers three to 10 cents per gallon and does not require the purchase of an expensive, new vehicle. In fact, a recent study showed that switching from E10 to E15 nationally could save consumers $12.2 billion in fuel costs — savings virtually every American household could enjoy just by adding more biofuels to
their gas tank.

Governors Sisolak and Brown and legislators in their states deserve credit for recognizing the incredible potential of cleaner, more affordable fuels, like E15. These Western states continue to showcase why E15 is truly a win for everyone.




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