The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to seek public comment on whether to allow year-round sales of higher ethanol gasoline blends in Midwest states, based on a request from state governors that they say would ease pump prices and help farmers, according to three sources familiar with the discussions.
The move to expand sales of E15 would be a win for the ethanol industry, which wants to increase sales of the corn-based fuel and which argues the product would reduce gasoline prices by expanding the volume of available supply.
However, critics of the idea - including those in the refining industry - have voiced concerns that a piecemeal approach to growing E15 sales could introduce logistical distribution challenges.
The EPA could start seeking comment as soon as this month, said the sources.
The refining industry has traditionally balked at efforts to expand the ethanol market because it competes for space in the fuel tank and can be costly to blend.
The EPA did not respond to requests for comment.