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Trump lifts year-round ethanol restrictions, could lower gas prices

The Trump administration Opens a New Window. on Friday announced that it would allow for the year-round sale Opens a New Window. of gasoline with higher concentrations of ethanol.

The action addresses a rule the Environmental Protection Agency had in place preventing the sale of so-called E15 fuel, which contains 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, between June 1 and Sept. 15. The purpose was to prevent air pollution and curb dependence on foreign petroleum, but the ban has stopped some retailers from selling E15 at all because of the need to change out pumps.

President Trump promised to end the ban last year, as corn farmers were voicing a concern over the trade war between the U.S. and China, which remains ongoing. Corn is widely used to domestically make ethanol.

Gasoline generally contains about 10 percent ethanol. Allowing for the year-round sale of E15 will give farmers more avenues to sell corn, which could bolster revenue especially when prices are low.

Since ethanol is cheaper to produce than gasoline, for some motorists it could bring down prices at the pump, which were at about $2.82 per gallon as of Friday afternoon, according to AAA. Last year at this time, the average price of gas was $2.95.

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