WASHINGTON — Starting today, retail gas stations across much of the nation will be forced to cease sales of E15, a fuel blend that is cleaner and cheaper than regular E10 gasoline. The summertime ban on E15, which results from a decades-old regulatory barrier that President Trump has called “unnecessary and ridiculous,” comes at a time when gas prices are reaching four-year highs and the national average price for regular is on the doorstep of $3 per gallon.
Not surprisingly, a new poll shows that American consumers are frustrated by the lack of choice that stems from the summertime prohibition on E15. In a poll of registered voters conducted by Morning Consult last week, four out of five respondents said they believe the federal government should allow E15 to be sold year-round. These drivers clearly understand that E15 offers a lower-cost, higher-octane fuel choice that is better for the environment.
Moreover, President Trump has expressed support time and again for allowing year-round E15 sales and providing consumers with greater choice at the pump. In mid-April, he committed that his administration would approve year-round access of E15. Unfortunately, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has yet to act on the President’s commitment, meaning another summer driving season is starting off with less choice and higher prices at the pump.
“EPA Administrator Pruitt leaves no stone unturned when it comes to addressing the grievances of the oil industry, most recently by printing $34 million worth of artificial RIN credits and handing them over to refining company HollyFrontier like a welfare check,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Farmers are tired of subsidizing some of the wealthiest companies in the country. It’s time for Scott Pruitt’s wholesale destruction of the RFS to end. It’s time for EPA to follow the law and the direction of the president. It’s time for EPA to create biofuel demand by eliminating this antiquated regulatory barrier and empower consumers to make the fuel choices that are best for their cars and wallets,” he added.
In 2011, EPA approved the use of E15 in 2001 and newer vehicles, but the agency did not allow E15 to benefit from the 1-pound per square inch (psi) Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that is available to E10 blends. As a result of this disparity, retailers in conventional gasoline areas would have to secure special “sub-RVP” gasoline blendstock in order to continue selling E15 during the EPA summer ozone control season. Such gasoline blendstock is generally unavailable in conventional gasoline areas and would be uneconomical to ship.