In Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the final approval to move forward with the sale of E15 ethanol blends. The announcement knocks down the lone, significant regulatory hurdle standing in the way of getting E15 into the marketplace for passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. With guidance on that issue from the EPA, fuel providers and retailers wishing to sell E15 can do so provided they register with EPA and follow approved misfueling mitigation protocols.
Specifically, EPA has notified the RFA that its E15 Retail Advisory addresses the agency’s concerns with residual fuel left in gas pumps with just a single hose. The advisory is now incorporated into the RFA’s E15 Retailer Handbook. The E15 Retailer Handbook is referenced by RFA’s EPA-approved misfueling mitigation plan – a strategy required by EPA to ensure E15 is being appropriately and legally offered to consumers. To help with compliance, the RFA is also offering the approved and required E15 pump labels free of charge to retailers.
Industry and government reaction.
Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association:
“Today’s announcement is a victory for American consumers. Since filing the Green Jobs waiver three years ago, the ethanol industry has worked extensively with the EPA to meet the conditions they placed on the approval of the waiver last year. At each step along the way, the industry has done its part to meet these conditions to get E15 into the marketplace.
“The ethanol industry is grateful for the support from the White House and the numerous agencies involved in bringing this fuel to the marketplace. Clearly this administration understands that ethanol plays a significant role in reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
“Now, America is changing the way it fuels up. Higher level ethanol blends, like E15, offer consumers greater choice at the pump while further reducing our dependence on imported oil.
“At USDA we applaud today’s action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that essentially completes the federal actions necessary to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). This announcement gets us one step closer to giving American consumers a real choice at the pump. It also supports the “all –of-the-above” energy strategy, including production of renewable biofuels, implemented by the Obama Administration to help wean us off of imported oil.
The public has a right to choose between spending their money on imported oil or home-grown energy. Today’s action by EPA helps break down the ethanol “blend wall” thereby potentially allowing more ethanol into the market. Iowa State University has estimated that blending ethanol with petroleum keeps the price per gallon at the pump down by around a dollar a gallon. This is a demonstration of the Obama Administration making good on its commitments to work to reduce foreign oil imports and increase domestic energy production.
“In addition, today the EPA has fulfilled its responsibility to the American public to ensure that E15 is a safe and reliable fuel. Home grown biofuels are providing sustainable rural jobs that cannot be exported. Today’s action proves yet again that renewable biofuels are not a dream of the future, but are a reality, and are making a difference today.
“At the President’s and Secretary Vilsack’s direction, USDA is working to develop the national biofuels industry producing energy from non-food sources in every region of the country. Working with private and government partners, USDA is supporting research into innovative energy technologies and processes, helping companies build biorefineries – including the first ever commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities – and supporting farmers, ranchers, and businesses taking risks to pursue new opportunities in biofuels.”
Download a copy of the RFA misfueling mitigation plan here.
Download a copy of the RFA’s E15 Retailer Handbook here.
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