Trump Lifting Ethanol Gasoline Ban is More Bad News for the Environment

The same week that the United Nations released its shocking report that we have only 12 years to take far-reaching actions before climate change has catastrophic results in North America, Donald Trump announced he will order the EPA to end the current ban on the summer sale of “E15″ gasoline – fuel that’s blended with 15 percent of the known pollutant ethanol.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. After all, Trump called climate change a Chinese hoax in 2012 and five years later withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. What he does believe is that there’s such a thing as “clean coal.”

Yes, Trump questioned the authenticity of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and said it was no more credible than other reports saying the climate is “fabulous.” (I really wanted to link to one of those other reports, but — shocker! — couldn’t find any.)

“My administration is protecting ethanol. … Today we are unleashing the power of E15 to fuel our country all year long,” Trump told his cheering supporters at an Oct. 8 rally in Iowa.

The announcement, made less than a month before the November midterm elections, was clearly intended to appease voters and help Republican candidates in the farm belt. Iowa happens to be the nation’s largest producer of the corn, from which ethanol is made, and farmers are not happy that corn prices have been dropping due to Trump’s trade war.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently prohibits the sale of E15 during summer months, because heat raises the vapor pressure of ethanol, causing it to quickly evaporate and create smog. To remove this ban, the EPA must draft and finalize a new rule. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told Reuters he’s certain that this will be accomplished by next spring.

However lifting the E15 summertime ban is opposed and will be challenged by groups that are usually polar opposites: the oil industry and environmental activists.

The American Petroleum Institute says E15 gasoline damages older cars and may void warranties. Chet Thompson, head of American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, told Reuters the oil industry would challenge the finalized rule in court.

Environmentalists, on the other hand, are more concerned about the release of more greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change. Since E15 produces more pollutants than gasoline alone, increasing the allowed amount “breaks those limits that are in the Clean Air Act and could potentially lead to more ozone formation,” David DeGennaro, agricultural policy specialist with the National Wildlife Federation, told The Hill.

Not only does ethanol increase air pollution, but its production results in the loss of wildlife habitat and increased nutrient pollution in waterways, DeGennaro previously said.

The oil industry as well as environmental groups say lifting the ethanol ban violates the Clean Air Act. They are prepared to sue the EPA – which, it should be noted, published a report four months ago concluding that requiring ethanol to be in gasoline has resulted in serious harm to the environment.

Trump, unsurprisingly, insists the increase in ethanol will actually decrease air pollution. “There really is no negative impact,” he told reporters. “In fact, there are those who say, ‘You do this and the air is cleaner. You go 12 months instead of eight and the air is actually cleaner.’” He did not identify the sources of this bizarre “fact.”

With greenhouse gases already a major contributor to climate change and its disastrous consequences, this is no time to be releasing even more pollutants into the air. If the EPA does go through with lifting the ethanol summer ban, here’s wishing the oil industry and environmentalists much success in their lawsuits.

Photo credit: CC0 Creative Commons


Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson4 months ago

Thank you.

pam w
pam w5 months ago

His ''values'' involve making money for himself and the family and being famous. That's it. He will NEVER take an action strictly for the benefit of the planet. N E V E R !

Amparo Fabiana C

The power men only cares about success and money. But we need to think in the earth, environment, air quality.

Colin C
Colin C5 months ago

So many EPA rules are being reversed. I imagine the EPA imposed the ethanol ban for good reasons.

Loredana V
Loredana V5 months ago

Everything from Trump is a bad news.

hELEN hEARFIELD5 months ago


Anna Ballinger
Anna Ballinger5 months ago

Thank you for sharing. It is sad how he is trying to destroy our planet. I fear for my 9 grandchildren. What a mess their generation will have to clean up.

Helene L
Helene L5 months ago

Yes indeed, those big polluting companies love that Trump thing more than ever.

Sherry K
Sherry Kohn5 months ago


Clare O'Beara
Clare O5 months ago

Just drive less. Live in closer to the services of town and stop driving to the mall, school or office - walk and campaign for better public transport - plus fly less.