DC Court Decision Reverses Year-Round E15 Rule

Cindy Zimmerman

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision Friday that impacts the year-round sale of 15% ethanol blended fuel (E15) to the great disappointment of the ethanol industry.

The decision reverses a 2019 rule by the Environmental Protection Agency that lifted outdated restrictions on the sale of E15 in a case brought by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. The Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and the National Corn Growers Association were intervenors on behalf of EPA in the case.

“We disagree with the court’s decision to reject EPA’s move to expand the RVP waiver to include E15, a decision that could deprive American drivers of lower carbon options at the pump and would result in more carbon in the atmosphere,” the organizations stated in a joint release. “We are working to ensure the continuity of E15 sales through the 2021 summer season and beyond. This decision could impact summertime sales across all non-RFG areas where nearly two-thirds of retail sites offering E15 currently do business. If E15 in those markets were to end, summertime E15 sales would fall by 90%.”

The industry will be pursuing all available options “to ensure that we have a solution in place before the 2022 driving season.”

RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the decision is a heavy blow to the ethanol industry, retailers across the country, and consumers looking for cleaner, greener fuel options. “If, as a result of this decision, EPA were to return to the summertime ban on E15, it would reverse the tremendous progress we’ve made on reducing GHG emissions from transportation, growing markets for America’s farmers, and lowering fuel costs for consumer,” said Cooper. “It is sadly ironic that the refiners crying about high RIN credit prices and tight RIN stocks are the same refiners that are trying to halt E15 expansion and artificially constrain the supply of RINs. This is just another case of refiners cutting off their nose to spite their face. But in the end, we are confident that global outcry and demand for low carbon fuels will win out over the refiners’ deep pockets and their incessant campaign to protect dirty petroleum’s market share.”

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA