After weeks of intense lobbying by ethanol supporters, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to use its existing authority to provide continued access throughout the summer months for E15, literally at the very last moment to allow continued sale of the fuel from terminals after April 30th
EPA announced today that the 15% ethanol fuel blend will be exempted from summer volatility requirements that effectively block sales from June 1 to Sept. 15 throughout much of the country. As it did last year, EPA cites conditions similar to last year and “determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and has granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate supply of gasoline is available.”
EPA’s emergency fuel waiver will go into effect on May 1 when terminal operators would otherwise no longer be able to sell E15 in the affected regions of the country and will last through May 20 which is the statutory maximum of 20 days. EPA will continue to monitor the supply with industry and federal partners, and the Agency expects to issue new waivers effectively extending the emergency fuel waiver until such time as the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances due to the war in Ukraine are no longer present.
Ethanol stakeholder organizations welcomed the news. “We join consumers across the nation in thanking EPA Administrator Regan for taking action to combat potential fuel shortages and higher gas prices this summer,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “U.S. gasoline inventories are even tighter than they were a year ago, and Putin’s war on Ukraine continues to wreak havoc on global fuel supplies. EPA’s action allowing summertime E15 will help extend gasoline supplies, prevent fuel shortages, protect air quality and reduce carbon emissions.”
“We appreciate Administrator Regan’s timely action to prevent a disruption in E15 availability,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “EPA’s action will help address fuel supply constraints and ensure drivers continue to have access to a lower-cost fuel choice that cuts emissions.”
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings thanked the agency but added a permanent remedy to expand consumer access for E15 long term is still necessary. “This annual drama of threatened summertime E15 sales, followed by last-minute reprieves, has got to end. It’s wearing on retailers selling E15 today and is a major reason more marketers aren’t offering it,” Jennings. “Consumers could be saving 5 to 15 cents per gallon and emissions could be reduced if Congress would fix the problem and pass legislation making E15 legal year-round.”