The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally taken the official step of approving 15% ethanol blended gasoline (E15) as a registered fuel.
On Monday, the EPA announced the approval of the first applications for registration of ethanol to make E15. “Registration of ethanol to make E15 is a significant step toward its production, sale, and use in model year 2001 and newer gasoline-fueled cars and light trucks,” EPA stated in a release.
To enable widespread use of E15, the Obama Administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next 5 years. In addition, both through the Recovery Act and the 2008 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture have provided grants, loans and loan guarantees to spur American ingenuity on the next generation of biofuels.
Today’s action follows an extensive technical review required by law. Registration is a prerequisite to introducing E15 into the marketplace. Before it can be sold, manufactures must first take additional measures to help ensure retail stations and other gasoline distributors understand and implement labeling rules and other E15-related requirements. EPA is not requiring the use or sale of E15.
Ethanol organizations applauded this development in the three year effort to approve sale of the mid-level ethanol blend as “one step closer to seeing low-cost, renewable E15 sold into the American fuels marketplace.”
“This announcement strengthens the ethanol industry’s efforts to innovate and continue to deliver domestically-produced and affordable alternatives to foreign oil,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “With ethanol selling an average of a dollar a gallon cheaper than gasoline and $4 a gallon gasoline on the horizon, we’d encourage all Americans to ask their local filling station how soon they will see more-affordable E15.”
With higher gasoline prices in recent months, Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen says the approval means American consumers may soon have some much deserved relief at the pump. “States in the Midwest have begun to address their regulatory requirements and perhaps as early as summer we could see E15 at fuel stations in the Heartland of America,” said Dinneen. “The future for consumers, ethanol producers and this country has just gotten a little brighter, a little stronger.”
Under the EPA approval, fuel containing ethanol volume up to 15 percent is permitted to be used in model year 2001 and newer cars and light trucks. Gas pumps dispensing E15 will be clearly labeled so consumers can make the right choice.