Today, the D.C. Circuit Court will hear oral arguments in American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, et al. vs. EPA, a case in which oil refiners challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2019 rulemaking that paved the way for the year-round sale of E15. As intervenors in the case, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association will also argue in support of upholding the E15 rule in court today.
In a joint statement, RFA, Growth Energy and NCGA said, “Oil refiners are simply trying to reclaim more market share by blocking American drivers from year-round access to a more affordable, lower-carbon fuel at the pump. Studies have repeatedly shown that the volatility of E15 is lower than that of E10. And other recent studies find that a nationwide switch from E10 to E15 would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions –equivalent to removing approximately 3.85 million vehicles from the road. If the refiners had their way and this rule was overturned, both volatile emissions and greenhouse gas emissions would increase. EPA’s E15 rule should be upheld because it is consistent with Congressional intent and the Clean Air Act, good for the environment, good for the rural communities that rely on a strong biofuels industry, and good for American drivers who want more options at the pump.”
In June 2019, EPA issued its final rule extending the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) volatility waiver to E15 and found that E15 is substantially similar to E10 certification fuel, allowing its introduction into commerce by fuel manufacturers without the need for a separate E15 waiver. These actions allowed for the sale of E15 fuels year-round. Oil refiners are now challenging the rulemaking in an attempt to undermine the expansion of biofuels in our nation’s fuel supply.
On August 21, 2020, RFA, Growth Energy and NCGA filed a brief as intervenors in the oil industry’s lawsuit against EPA’s regulation allowing year-round E15. The brief provided strong support for EPA’s position that parity in RVP regulations for E10 and E15 is consistent with the provisions of the Clean Air Act and the congressional intent behind those provisions. The organizations further pointed out that extending the volatility waiver from E10 to E15 is appropriate because the volatility of the fuel actually decreases as more ethanol is added into gasoline beyond E10.