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12/14/2021

National Biofuel & Farm Groups Call on EPA to Restore Year-Round E15 Sales

They say lower-volatility conventional gasoline blendstock in the summertime would yield significant environmental benefits.
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ethanol fuel pump

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Six national biofuel and farm organizations are joining forces to restore year-round E15 sales.

Two years after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the greenlight to year-round E15 sales, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed the move. On July 2, the federal appeals court said the EPA overstepped its authority in 2019 when it removed the last remaining barriers to selling the 15-percent ethanol blend in the summer months, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and National Sorghum Producers called on the agency to facilitate year-round sales of E15 nationwide and remove barriers to innovation and consumer choice in the retail fuel marketplace by enacting regulations requiring lower-volatility conventional gasoline blendstock in the summertime.

The move, the organizations argued, would reduce the volatility of gasoline by just 1 pound per square inch (psi), yielding significant environmental benefits such as lower tailpipe and evaporative emissions during the summer ozone control season and improve air quality.

Citing a new study using EPA modeling tools, the organizations showed that reducing the vapor pressure of conventional gasoline blendstock by 1 psi "…would be beneficial to air quality, as emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) would be reduced."

The study also concluded that "if the elimination of the 1-psi waiver [for E10] leads to the replacement of E10 with E15, it will also decrease greenhouse gases and particulate emissions."

The letter detailed how the move would simplify engineering of emissions control systems, help facilitate compliance with Renewable Fuel Standard requirements and minimally impact fuel costs by as little as 1 cent to 2 cents per gallon.

Additionally, the regulatory strategy suggested in the letter would address a request from seven Midwest governors last month for EPA's help to secure state-level regulatory approaches to allow the E15 blend to be made available year-round.

"The approach we suggest here would be similar to that contemplated by the governors, but rather than a state-by-state solution, the proposed regulatory fix would be nationally applicable," the organizations wrote.