: Biden to tout savings from summer sale of E15 gas, as inflation rate jumps to 8.5%

President Joe Biden on Tuesday afternoon is slated to talk up his administration’s plan to permit the summertime sale of gasoline with 15% ethanol, as he makes a fresh effort to address high inflation while visiting Iowa.

The use of E15 gasoline could provide savings of 10 cents per gallon on average, and many stores sell E15 at an even greater discount, the White House said in a statement.

Biden’s move with the corn-based biofuel comes as new government data showed the U.S. rate of inflation climbed to 8.5% last month, driven in large part by higher prices for gasoline RB00, +4.76% as oil CL00, +6.84% surged following Russian President Vladmir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. The last time inflation breached 8% was in January 1982.

Americans’ frustrations with high prices are helping to keep Biden’s approval ratings low — and giving a talking point to Republicans ahead of November’s midterm elections. GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa tweeted on Tuesday that residents of her state are “continuing to get crushed by skyrocketing inflation under the Biden administration.”

Related: Republicans may win not just House but also Senate in midterm elections — here are 2022’s Senate races to watch

Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency is set to issue a temporary waiver that allows for E15 gas to be sold from June 1 to Sept. 15, when usually just gas with 10% ethanol is permitted in a bid to  reduce smog.

The EPA will work with states to “ensure there are no significant air quality impacts,” the White House said.

See: Biden to allow more ethanol in gas to ease prices at the pump — here’s what you need to know

Also read: Biden administration to allow more ethanol in gasoline over the summer

Biden is scheduled to deliver a speech around 3:45 p.m. Eastern Tuesday while visiting a processing plant in Menlo, Iowa, that makes ethanol. He’ll talk about his administration’s actions to “lower costs for working families, reduce the impact of Putin’s Price Hike, and Build a Better America with Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments in rural communities,” the White House said.

E15 gas has been about 25 cents per gallon cheaper than E10 on average in April, but because E15 has about 2% less energy per gallon, it’s just 17 cents cheaper on a mileage-adjusted basis, said Height Capital Markets analysts in a note on Tuesday.

The decision on E15 “could benefit retailers with blending capability, such as Murphy USA MUSA, +0.64% and Casey’s General Stores CASY, -0.01%, ” the analysts added.

Two weeks ago, Biden ordered the largest-ever release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, as he reacted to rises in gasoline prices.

U.S. stocks SPX, +0.48% DJIA, +0.33% advanced Tuesday, with sentiment helped by the inflation release showing that core price growth slowed and came in below forecasts.

Now read: Bad news for commuters and summer road trippers: Gas prices have soared 48% over the past the year

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