By U.S. Senator Roy Blunt
Whether it’s filling up the tank for a road trip or keeping the house cool in a heat wave, energy costs can be a major part of the family budget. The average household in Missouri spends around $3,800 a year on gasoline and utilities. That’s why the Republican-led Senate and the Trump administration are working together to help make energy more affordable.
Recently, the Trump administration announced two new policies aimed at lowering costs, strengthening the economy, and reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a new rule allowing 15 percent ethanol blends (E15) to be sold year round, which is a big win for Missouri farmers, families, and biofuels producers.
With one out of every five rows of corn grown in Missouri going toward ethanol production, year-round sales will create more opportunities for our state’s growers who are facing low commodity prices and recovering from historic flooding.
The ethanol industry employs thousands of Missourians and contributed nearly half a billion dollars to our economy in 2018. Year-round E15 sales will bolster the industry and give drivers more choices – that means more competition and lower prices at the pump. E15 can cost 10 cents per gallon less than gasoline. With lower fuel costs, farmers and businesses can get their product to market at a more affordable rate.
We should be taking action to promote all types of affordable energy. Last month, the EPA finalized the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which replaces the previous administration’s burdensome energy regulations.
The earlier regulations would have been particularly harmful for states like ours that have historically relied on coal-fired energy. Families could have seen their utility bills double, while energy-intensive industries like manufacturing and agriculture would have faced skyrocketing costs. Jobs would be lost. Lots of things that make sense with today’s utility bills at home and at work wouldn’t make sense with a bill twice as big.
The Affordable Clean Energy rule strikes the right balance between reducing emissions and ensuring Missourians have access to affordable energy. It gives states the flexibility to set their own standards for coal-fired power plants, which will reduce emissions without saddling families and businesses with much higher energy bills.
We can reduce carbon emissions by focusing on innovation instead of resorting to heavy-handed regulations from Washington. People work hard to earn a living and take care of their families. The more we can do to keep monthly bills low, the better it is for them and for our economy.