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‘Unnecessary’ and ‘Ridiculous’ Summertime Restriction on E15 Ends Sunday

September 14, 2018


Theonerous regulatory restrictionpreventinggasoline retailers from selling 15% ethanol (E15) in much of the country during the summerwill finally be lifted on Sunday, Sept. 16.This will once again allow consumersacrossthenationto haveaccesstoafuel that is cheaper, cleaner and offers higher octane than todays gasoline. President Trump has called the summertime ban on E15 ridiculous and unnecessary and recently vowed that the administration is very close to removing the decades-old barrier. In 2011, EPA approved the use of E15 in 2001 and newer vehicles, but the agency inexplicably 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 ofthis disparity, retailers in conventional gasoline areas (most of the country) would have to secure specialty gasolineblendstocksin order to continue selling E15 in the summer. Such gasolineblendstockis generally unavailable in conventional gasoline areas and would be uneconomical to ship. EPA has jurisdiction over gasoline volatility from June 1Sept. 15 every year. EPAsrestrictionis not only preventing consumers from accessing E15 during the summermonths, butis also slowing down expansion of higher ethanol blend infrastructure in the marketplace. Some retailers remain hesitant to invest in the infrastructure to distribute E15 thatcannot be sold year-round. President Trumphas expressed support on multiple occasions for allowing year-round E15 sales.Unfortunately, EPA has yet to act on the presidents commitment.The Renewable Fuels Association and six other groups wrote to the president this week, urging his administration tofollow through and provide farmersand ethanol producerswith expanded access to markets and new sources of demand at a time when agricultural and biofuel markets are struggling. The summertime de facto ban on E15 is having realimpacts on the market.Just this week, the Minnesota Department of Commerce reported thatonly 2.86 million gallons ofE15wassold in the state in Julythe lowest recorded since September 2017 and less than half of the volume sold just two months earlier in May, priorto the summer RVP ban kicking in. EPAsnonsensicalrestriction on E15ispreventing consumers from saving money at the pumpprecisely when prices are typically at their highestand is hamstringing further expansion in the marketplace, said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.President Trump has repeatedly said he wants the summertime E15 ban to end, yet inexplicably EPAhas been dragging its feet.Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has already destructed demand for more than 2.25 billion gallons of biofuel.With the corn and ethanol industries hurting, EPA needs to act now toprovide new value-added market opportunities and ensure consumers have consistent access to lower priced, higher octane E15.