EPA Finalizes E15 Labeling Regulations


EPA has finalized regulations for labeling pumps that distribute 15% ethanol blends in gasoline (E15), removing another hurdle to ethanol market expansion. The agency said the label will help “inform consumers about the appropriate use of E15 and reduce the potential for misfueling of vehicles, engines and equipment that should not use E15.” 

In response to a request by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers under the Clean Air Act, the EPA granted two partial waivers that allow, but don’t require, the introduction into commerce of gasoline that contains greater than 10% volume ethanol (E10) and up to 15% ethanol (E15) for use in model year 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles, subject to certain conditions. The ethanol industry says market access and expansion has been restricted by the E10 blend wall. EPA says some 150 million cars and light trucks could potentially use E15, a number that could increase another 30 million in three years, representing some 85 percent of U.S. vehicular fuel consumption.

The new orange and black label, which must appear on fuel pumps that dispense E15, warns the blend can be used “only in” 2001 and newer passenger vehicles and flex-fuel vehicles. The label specifies prohibited uses, including “other vehicles, boats or gasoline-powered equipment,” but EPA said the label’s intent is to warn consumers against using E15 in vehicles older than model year 2001, motorcycles, watercraft, and gasoline-powered lawnmowers and chainsaws.

“We appreciate EPA finally releasing this rule in response to Growth Energy’s E15 petition,” said the trade organization’s CEO, Tom Buis. “This is another step in the process to get E15 into the marketplace later this year, which will create U.S. jobs, improve the environment and strengthen national security by displacing foreign oil.”

But National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott said the association “supports the use of a label, but we are still concerned with the fact that it implies damage to other vehicles.” Schott said the color choice for the label could be mistaken for a warning label, “setting the wrong tone for consumers.”

EPA officials say the E15 label rule is necessary given an increase in the installation in blender pumps, particularly in the Midwest. USDA has been using Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funds to promote installation of the blender pumps, and last month, Iowa enacted legislation providing a 3-cent tax credit for each gallon of E15 sold after July 1. But immediate and open access to markets, however, is not guaranteed. In addition to the need for more blender pumps, requirements under other federal, state, and local laws may also affect the distribution of E15.

Source: 25x’25 Weekly Blog