President Joe Biden traveled to corn-rich Iowa earlier this month to announce a plan to lower gasoline prices by about a dime a gallon at a limited number of stations by waiving rules restricting ethanol blending.
Biden spoke at the POET biofuels plant located west of Des Moines, Iowa, in Menlo to address this issue. There, he announced that restrictions for ethanol blending would be waived.
The impact of this change is uncertain, but there is pressure on the administration to act. Biden had stated that inflation would fade, but instead, it seems to be accelerating, according to ABC News.
Given that consumer prices have jumped to their highest rate since 1981, there is cause for concern for Biden and his fellow Democrats.
With midterm elections slated for this year, there is a sense of urgency that something must be done. While gas prices have spiked more than other goods, the costs of groceries, housing, and other necessities have also risen.
In his speech, Biden referred to inflation as “Putin’s price hike.”
“Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide a half-a-world away,” the U.S. President said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Associated Press (AP) reports the emergency waiver would allow the sale of a blend that contains 15% ethanol rather than the 10% currently allowed.
Ethanol is less expensive than gasoline, but only 2,300 gas stations out of the over 100,000 in the United States will be capable of selling the mixture.
Biden’s announcement has infuriated both the petroleum industry and environmental activists.
Activists argue that there will be potential environmental damage as the 15% ethanol blend is more volatile and likely to cause more smog with summer temperatures approaching. The smog risk is what initially restricted the higher percentage of ethanol in gasoline.