"Gina has focused on practical, cost-effective ways to keep our air clean and our economy growing," Obama said.
API President Jack Gerard, in a statement, said he welcomed the nomination as his group works to advance an energy policy that ensures economic growth.
"The problem is that EPA, in many cases, is not proposing regulations that meet this goal," he said.
API in January called on the U.S. Supreme Court to review a lower-court decision opening the door to gasoline containing higher amounts of ethanol, as supported by the EPA. API argues the EPA approved the new ethanol blends despite concerns about its effects on engines.
The EPA notes that E15 isn't recommended for motorcycles, vehicles older than 2001 and those with heavy-duty engines. E10, a 10-percent ethanol blend, is the current standard.