Obama Administration Grants Final Approval For Sale Of E15

“The public has a right to choose between imported oil and home-grown energy and today’s action by the EPA advances that goal,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The Obama administration has given final approval for the sale of E15 ethanol blends under the waiver conditions set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Southwest Farm Press reported. 

“Today, the last significant federal hurdle has been cleared to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15% ethanol (E15),” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on June 15. “This gets us one step closer to giving the American consumer a real choice at the pump. The public has a right to choose between imported oil and home-grown energy and today’s action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advances that goal. Today’s action demonstrates that the Obama administration is making good on its commitment to work to reduce foreign oil imports and increase domestic energy production, including production of renewable biofuels. In addition, the EPA has fulfilled its responsibility to the American public to ensure that E15 is a safe and reliable fuel. Home grown biofuels are providing sustainable rural jobs that cannot be exported. Today’s action proves yet again that renewable biofuels are not a dream of the future, but are a reality, and are making a difference today.”

During a June 15 announcement the Obama administration noted all regulatory hurdles to E15 had been addressed by the ethanol industry. 

EPA has notified the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) that its E15 Retail Advisory addresses the its concerns with residual fuel left in gas pumps with just a single hose. An advisory on this is incorporated into the RFA’s E15 Retailer Handbook. The E15 Retailer Handbook is referenced by RFA’s EPA approved misfueling mitigation plan, which is a strategy to ensure E15 is being appropriately and legally offered to consumers.  RFA is also offering approved and required E15 pump labels free of charge to retailers, Southwest Farm Press reported.

Fuel providers and retailers wishing to offer E15 must first register with EPA.

In cooperation with Growth Energy, the RFA has also initiated a nationwide fuel survey program as required by EPA to ensure stations offering E15 are adhering to misfueling mitigation requirements, such as proper labeling, ethanol content, and vapor pressure.

Challenges remain to the widespread adoption of E15, however, including pending litigation, threats of congressional intervention to prevent the sale of E15 and state regulatory issues. What’s more, particularly in summer months, E15 must meet stricter federal evaporative emissions standards, known as Reid Vapor Pressure or RVP, while most summer gasoline formulations would likely exceed federal limits when blended with 15% ethanol.

After the announcement, The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) issued another warning that the EPA’s ruling to approve the sale of E15 into the U.S. consumer marketplace for automobiles made since 2001 is dangerous.

“For the first time in American history, fuel used for some automobiles may no longer safe for any non-road products. It may, in fact, destroy or damage generators, chainsaws, utility vehicles, lawnmowers, boats and marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs and more,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.

Download a copy of the RFA misfueling mitigation plan here and a copy of the RFA’s E15 Retailer Handbook at www.EthanolRFA.org.



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