Trump announced his decision on Twitter, stating that it will be “subject to state approval.” The move followed a conversation he had with Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who has been pushing for the change, according to Bloomberg.
“Subject to State approval, our important Ethanol Industry will be allowed to use the 10% Pumps for the 15% BLEND,” Trump tweeted.
Both politicians appear to be using the push as a means of bolstering their re-election chances, with Trump hoping to increase his support in Midwestern swing states where corn farmers and biofuel producers would benefit.
“GREAT news for Iowa -- our biofuel community, farmers and economy,” Ernst said on Twitter. “This is what I’ve been pushing for since we secured E15 year-round: increased access to higher blends of ethanol and more choice at the pump for consumers.”
The EPA had previously lifted restrictions that blocked the sale of a 15% ethanol-gasoline blend (known as E15) in many areas of the U.S., but states had been slow to adopt it. Supporters argued that more stations would offer the mix if they could use existing infrastructure to distribute it.
The Trump administration had appeared set to postpone any decision on biofuels to avoid backlash from either the agriculture or petroleum sectors, according to Politico.
However, recent polling figures have placed Trump behind former Vice President Joe Biden, even in states such as Wisconsin and Ohio. Polls in August showed a slender 1.7 point lead in Iowa for Trump, a state he won by 9.4 points in 2016.
A move to support biofuel interest could risk support among oil industry workers, particularly in Texas and Pennsylvania.