Statement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Today’s Environmental Protection Agency Action allowing E15 to be Used by Model Year 2001 and Newer Passenger Vehicles
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the okay Friday for several retailers to legally sell E15 blends for use in cars built in model year 2001 and newer.
Previously, EPA approved ethanol producers who want their fuel used in E15, as well as plans for minimizing potential misfueling at the pump, and an independent third-party survey to assure the consistency and quality of E15 ethanol blends nationwide.
EPA has notified the Renewable Fuels Association that its E15 Retail Advisory addresses the agency’s concerns with residual fuel left in gas pumps with just a single hose. The advisory is now incorporated into the RFA’s E15 Retailer Handbook. The E15 Retailer Handbook is referenced by RFA’s EPA-approved misfueling mitigation plan – a strategy required by EPA to ensure E15 is being appropriately and legally offered to consumers. To help with compliance, the RFA is also offering the approved and required E15 pump labels free of charge to retailers.
“In the eyes of the federal government, E15 is a legal fuel for sale to cars, pickups, and SUVs made since 2001,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “E15 has undergone the most vigorous testing and regulatory process of any fuel approved by the federal government. With all i’s dotted and t’s crossed as far as EPA is concerned, our undivided focus will turn to addressing state regulatory issues, identifying retailers wishing to offer E15, and paving the way to greater use of domestically produced ethanol.”
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack shared his thoughts on the EPA’s action, ”Today, the last significant federal hurdle has been cleared to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). This gets us one step closer to giving the American consumer a real choice at the pump. The public has a right to choose between imported oil and home-grown energy and today’s action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advances that goal.”
The American Coalition for ethanol praised the action as well.
ACE Senior Vice President Rom Lamberty says the announcement is welcome news. “This announcement means E15 will finally be offered to consumers, and they can decide for themselves what kind of fuel they want to put in their cars. We are confident that when consumers try E15, they will find it’s a safe, quality fuel that costs less than gasoline and runs well in their car, and they will continue to buy it.” Lamberty said.
Fuel providers and retailers wishing to offer E15 must first register with EPA. In so doing, these companies must state their plans to adhere to the RFA’s EPA-approved misfueling mitigation plan.
RFA says hurdles to the widespread adoption of E15 remain, including pending litigation, threats of congressional intervention to prevent the sale of E15, and state regulatory issues. Also limiting the fast adoption of E15, particularly in summer months, is the requirement that E15 meet stricter federal evaporative emissions standards, known as Reid Vapor Pressure or RVP. Currently, most summer gasoline formulations would likely exceed federal limits when blended with 15% ethanol. An RVP waiver for 10% ethanol blends is in place allowing for year round sale. Such a waiver should be extended to E15 as well given that RVP differences are indistinguishable between and 10% and 15% ethanol blends.
“It is no secret that some in the petroleum industry and other anti-biofuel voices will mount an all assault to prevent E15 from entering the market,” said Dinneen. “But, America’s ethanol industry is fully committed to working with stakeholders across the supply chain, and with consumers directly to offer American drivers with the choices at the pump – lower cost choices at that – for which they overwhelmingly desire.”
Sources: USDA, RFA, ACEShare