American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is continuing calls, along with retailers, for the RVP waiver to be extended to E15.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-imposed low Reid vapor pressure (RVP) season has begun, which effectively bans the sale of lower-cost, higher-octane E15 until Sept. 15.
ACE points out E15 has lower RVP and lower emissions than the gasoline sold in those markets each summer. E15 is an unleaded gasoline that can be used in all cars and light trucks model years 2001 and newer, and typically costs five to 10 cents less than regular gas.
Other fuels receive a one-pound RVP waiver during the summer months, and ACE has made encouraging EPA to extend that waiver to E15 a priority for many years. ACE has also called upon Members of Congress to enact legislation (S. 517 and H.R. 1311) clarifying once and for all that E15 and higher blends of ethanol should be allowed for sale June 1 through Sept. 15.
“Many customers who bought E15 yesterday are seeing a “FLEX FUEL ONLY” label on that pump today, and that can be confusing for people who just started using E15 at one of the stations that opened in the past year,” said Ron Lamberty, senior vice president of ACE. “On top of the extra hassle of re-labeling fuel dispensers twice a year and telling customers why they can’t buy the less-expensive, higher-octane fuel they bought last week, retailers tell us the confusion carries over, and keeps some drivers from switching back to E15 when it’s ‘legal’ again in mid-September.”
ACE believes it’s important to double down on efforts to make this commonsense RVP fix, with expanding E15 availability and both legislative and administrative options on the table. ACE also wants to make it clear that the rule change is supported by leading fuel retailers, who are making the switch to E15 to provide drivers with a lower-cost, higher-octane fuel option.
“This minor fix would be a major relief to retailers offering E15 today and would remove one of the biggest barriers for other retailers who want to offer E15,” said Mike Lorenz, the executive vice president of petroleum supply for Sheetz Inc. “For consumers, it would provide year-round access and increased availability of E15. Consumers should also benefit from this rule update, since E15 typically sells for less than regular unleaded gasoline and is cleaner burning and higher octane.”
Sheetz is among the increasing number of retailers to offer E15 and higher ethanol blends at their stations. Today, E15 is sold at more than 800 retail outlets across 29 states.
“These gas stations are asking the Environmental Protection Agency to allow them to do what the agency’s name says it does, and ‘protect the environment’ by selling a cleaner fuel during the busiest time of the year. Yet, EPA refuses to do so,” Lamberty added. “Hopefully, we can get this fix done through EPA or Congress, and this will be the last time retailers have to jump through these hoops to keep E15 available for their customers.”