Forced Summer Hiatus Begins for E15

Cindy Zimmerman

It’s June 1st, which means the kids are out of school, the pools are open, and E15 pumps in two-thirds of the nation are shutting down.

Today marks the official beginning of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “summer ozone control season,” and according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), is the result of “an arbitrary, decades-old EPA regulation that protects the status quo and denies consumers year-round access to a fuel that is cheaper, cleaner, and offers higher octane than today’s gasoline.”

“EPA’s nonsensical and disparate RVP regulation offers no consumer or environmental benefit whatsoever,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “In the end, EPA’s actions are punishing consumers who are being denied access to the cleanest, lowest cost and highest source of octane fuel on the planet. We again call on EPA or Congress to resolve this arcane barrier. ”

In 2011, EPA approved the use of E15 in 2001 and newer vehicles, but the agency did not allow E15 to benefit from the 1-pound per square inch (psi) Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that is available to E10 blends. As a result of this disparity, retailers in conventional gasoline areas would have to secure special “sub-RVP” gasoline blendstock in order to continue selling E15 during the EPA summer ozone control season, which lasts from June 1 to September 15. Such gasoline blendstock is generally unavailable in conventional gasoline areas and would be uneconomical to ship.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced legislation earlier this year to extend the RVP waiver to E15 and RFA highlighted the need for E15 RVP relief in its comments recently submitted to EPA on regulatory reform.

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA