Months of regulatory delays by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have put Midwest drivers at risk of losing access to lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 this summer, the Renewable Fuels Association said at an EPA hearing today. RFA urged the agency to allow sales of the E15 fuel blend this summer, rather than waiting until 2024, as has been proposed by EPA.
The comments came in response to the EPA’s proposal to approve a petition from eight Midwest governors that would level the playing field for fuel volatility regulations, thereby allowing the sale of lower-carbon E15 through the summer months in their states. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper reminded the agency that it had a statutory duty to approve and implement the governors’ petition within 90 days—which would have been no later than July 27, 2022. Instead, the proposal was issued just three weeks ago, and EPA now proposes deferring implementation until 2024.
Even though EPA’s proposal is more than seven months late, there remains no economic, environmental, or legal justification for the Agency to delay implementation by another year, Cooper said.
“If there truly is a problem with implementing the governors’ petition this summer, it is a problem of the Administration’s own making,” Cooper said. “EPA’s seven-month delay in taking any action at all on the petition has put the marketplace in a real jam—and it should be EPA’s responsibility to get us out of that jam. If the Agency truly believes it cannot implement this petition in time for the summer of 2023, then it should consider using other regulatory authorities to ensure consumers have uninterrupted access to lower-cost, lower-carbon E15. Unless the Agency acts quickly, Midwest drivers will soon lose the ability to choose a fuel that saved them 20-30 cents per gallon on average last summer at a time of record gasoline prices.”