The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is seeking more clarification from EPA on its apparent focus on vehicles model year 2001 and newer when it comes to increasing the allowable ethanol blend level in gasoline to 15 percent. Such a limitation could potentially limit once again the market for ethanol by excluding some 40% of the vehicle market and causing both consumer confusion and retailer unwillingness to offer the product.
In its letter, the EPA stated, “Although all of the studies have not been completed, our engineering assessment to date indicates that the robust fuel, engine and emissions control systems on newer vehicles (likely 2001 and newer model years) will likely be able to accommodate higher ethanol blends, such as E15.”
The RFA wrote EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today seeking more details on this apparent limitation to the waiver.
According to RFA President Bob Dinneen, “Such a bifurcation would create unnecessary and burdensome requirements for fuel retailers, as well as confusion for consumers. It is unlikely that retailers would be willing to offer both an E15 blend for newer model vehicles and E10 or less for older models. This scenario could effectively result in no increase in ethanol use, despite an approval of higher level blends.”
Listen to comments from Dinneen about this issue in this edition of “The Ethanol Report.”
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