Unleaded 88 Waiver Approved for Summer 2024

Story originally published by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Today, the Biden administration approved an emergency waiver allowing for Unleaded 88 sales in summer 2024. Unleaded 88, which is also known as E15 in a nod to its 15% ethanol concentration, is a lower-cost, cleaner-burning biofuel approved for use in 2001 and newer cars, trucks, and SUVs.

“Uninterrupted Unleaded 88 this summer is a win for drivers, farmers, rural communities, and all consumers, especially at a time of elevated gas prices and continued uncertainty in global oil markets,” Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) President Dana Allen-Tully said. “Drivers will benefit through reduced prices and additional choices at the pump. Farmers and rural communities will benefit through increased biofuel production, and everyone will benefit through decreased tailpipe and evaporative fuel emissions. MCGA thanks the Biden administration for taking this common-sense step, and we also thank Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation for their continued advocacy on behalf of biofuels.”

“This waiver is good news for corn growers and those in rural America who will benefit economically from this decision and for consumers who will save money at the pump during a busy travel season,” said Minnesota farmer and NCGA President Harold Wolle. “We are deeply appreciative of EPA Administrator Regan, President Biden, and our congressional allies for all their work on this issue.”

Allen-Tully said that while MCGA celebrates today’s announcement, the organization remains aware that permanent year-round Unleaded 88 across the U.S. is still not a guarantee. “The administration’s approval in February of a petition allowing year-round Unleaded 88 sales in eight Midwestern states, including Minnesota, starting in 2025 was as positive step, but it’s not enough,” she said. “It’s still critical that Congress passes the bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which would ensure permanent and uninterrupted sales of Unleaded 88 nationwide. MCGA thanks Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and Minnesota Representatives Angie Craig, Michelle Fischbach, and Brad Finstad for sponsoring the bill and look forward to additional work on the issue.”

About Unleaded 88

First offered for sale in Minnesota in 2013, Unleaded 88 is now available at about 500 fuel stations in the state. It reduces emissions compared to regular unleaded fuel and lowers costs at the pump—about 16 cents per gallon on average, according to the latest state data.

Unleaded 88 has been restricted in the summer due to concerns around evaporative emissions, smog, and ground-level ozone. But the reality is that Unleaded 88 is less likely than regular unleaded fuel to contribute to these concerns. You can read more about how restrictions on Unleaded 88 are outdated and have nothing to do with the safety or quality of the fuel here.

“All that restricting Unleaded 88 does is create a perception that the fuel is unsuitable for use, which simply isn’t true,” Allen-Tully said. “Furthermore, restrictions mean fuel stations can’t take advantage of the summer driving season, when demand for Unleaded 88 is typically highest.”

Minnesota is a leader in Unleaded 88 sales and availability. In 2023, the state reported record Unleaded 88 sales of 127.5 million gallons. The state also has the top ethanol blend rate in the nation at 12.7%.

The state’s strong Unleaded 88 numbers are thanks in no small part to Minnesota Corn. For years, the organization has promoted Unleaded 88 to consumers through multiple outreach efforts, including the Better Fuel Initiative. And, MCGA has played a key role in advocating for the creation of biofuel infrastructure programs at the State Legislature.

In 2021, for example, the organization successfully advocated for a $6 million biofuel infrastructure grant program at the Legislature. The Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council contributed $1 million to the program, which allowed 44 fuel stations to upgrade equipment. MCGA successfully advocated for a $6.75 million state biofuel infrastructure grant program during the 2023 legislative session.

Learn more about Unleaded 88, and find an Unleaded 88 station near you, at BetterFuel.org.