The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should implement a regulation allowing the lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 fuel blend to be sold in eight Midwest states this summer, rather than waiting until 2024 as proposed, the Renewable Fuels Association said in formal comments filed today.
“There is no economic, environmental, or legal justification for the Agency to defer implementation another year,” wrote RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “If there is any problem with implementing the governors’ requests this summer, it is one of the administration’s own making, which is not a legitimate reason for further delay.”
Cooper pointed out that because the original governors’ petition requesting year-round E15 was submitted in April 2022, EPA had a legal duty to approve and implement it by the end of July of last year. Even though the law clearly establishes a 90-day deadline for implementing a petition from governors, “…the administration did not act on the petition for nearly a year, and now EPA is using this delay as an excuse to defer implementation for another year. This is creating considerable uncertainty in the marketplace and putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure investment by fuel retailers, ethanol producers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other stakeholders.”
In addition to emphasizing EPA’s statutory obligations, RFA’s comments focused on three other points:
- EPA did not demonstrate that implementing the year-round E15 regulation this summer would cause an insufficient supply of gasoline in the petitioning states; an insufficient supply is the only permissible justification for delaying implementation.
- EPA mischaracterizes RFA-commissioned studies from MathPro and ICF that indicate implementation of the governors’ request in 2023 is expected to be manageable.
- Any difficulty in implementing the regulation starting this summer, rather than in 2024, would likely be a result of the EPA’s lengthy delay in responding to the governors’ petitions.
RFA concluded by citing its new analysis of the savings that E15 provides to consumers. “Unless EPA acts quickly, many Midwest drivers will soon lose the ability to purchase E15, a fuel that has saved American consumers an average $0.27 per gallon since the beginning of last year—a time of record gasoline prices.”