On Dec. 6 at a hearing in Chicago, Chris Bliley, director of regulatory affairs for Growth Energy testified before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Renewable Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS) Rule.
During his testimony, Bliley outlined Growth Energy’s concern regarding the impact of the REGs rule on the developing market for E15, a fuel mixed with 15% ethanol and 85 percent gasoline.
Specifically, Bliley noted, “While we certainly appreciate and support the regulatory clarity and vapor pressure relief for ethanol flex fuels, we are concerned about the impact of this proposal on the developing market for E15. While the proposal doesn’t directly address E15, it would isolate E15 as the only ethanol-blended fuel that does not receive Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) relief in conventional areas. This would deny retailers and consumers the choice of cleaner, less-expensive E15 in a large portion of the country during the height of the summer driving season. It is imperative that E15 be given the same RVP treatment as regular E10 gasoline because of its benefit to our nation’s air quality. Without relief, nearly 1,000 retailers will be forced to change their fuel blend to 16% ethanol and limit their sale to flex fuel vehicles, which represent a mere 8% of the total auto fleet, from June 1 to Sept. 15 in conventional gasoline markets.”
Bliley also raised concerns about the limitations for natural gasoline used for flex fuel blending, explaining, “As proposed, the limits would likely force the use of other refined, hydrocarbon blendstocks and ultimately impose additional costs on the consumers of midlevel ethanol blends and E85.”
Bliley also discussed Growth Energy’s support of the use of biointermediates and new pathways to help develop cellulosic biofuels. He concluded by reiterating the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) stating, “The RFS injects competition and consumer choice into the vehicle fuels marketplace. It is moving America forward. With more and more retailers moving toward E15, and the USDA investments through the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership, now is exactly the wrong time to orphan E15 as the only fuel that cannot be sold consistently year-round.”