EPA formally issues E15 summer sales waiver
The Environmental Protection Agency today, April 29, formally issued an emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 gasoline — gas that uses a 15% ethanol blend — to be sold during the summer driving season, effective May 1.
“President Biden and this administration are committed to protecting American consumers from the impacts of Russia’s unprovoked attack against Ukraine,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan.
“[Russian President] Putin’s war has had a profound impact on global and domestic energy markets,” Regan said. “In consultation with [Energy] Secretary [Jennifer] Granholm, I have concluded that it is necessary to take action to allow E15 sales during the summer driving season in order to minimize and prevent disruption of summertime fuel supply to consumers.”
“The Clean Air Act allows the EPA administrator, in consultation with DOE, to temporarily waive certain fuel requirements to address shortages,” EPA noted.
“As a result of the war in Ukraine, Administrator Regan determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and has granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate supply of gasoline is available. As required by law, EPA and DOE evaluated the situation and determined that granting the waiver was in the public interest.”
EPA explained, “Currently, in roughly two-thirds of the country, E15 cannot be sold from terminals starting on May 1 and at retail stations starting on June 1. EPA is providing relief by extending the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 gasoline to E15, which will enable E15 sales throughout the summer driving season in these areas, if necessary.”
“This action only extends the 1-psi waiver to E15 in parts of the country where it already exists for E10. E15 can already be sold year-round in parts of the country that have a Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) program.
“Because the RVP of E10 and E15 gasoline used by consumers will be the same (both will be 1 psi higher than otherwise required by EPA or state regulations), EPA does not expect any impact on air quality from this limited action.
“EPA’s research has shown no significant impact on evaporative emissions when the 1-psi waiver is extended to E15. With no significant impacts on emissions from cars and trucks, we expect consumers can continue to use E15 without concern that its use in the summer will impact air quality.”
White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki said in a statement, “The waiver is a critical step to address the fuel supply crisis and follows President Biden’s announcement earlier this month laying out actions to increase use of biofuels in order to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, accelerate the clean energy transition, build real U.S. energy independence, support American agriculture and manufacturing, and save Americans money at the pump.”
“At current prices, E15 can save a family 10 cents per gallon of gas on average and many stores sell E15 at an even greater discount and today’s waiver will allow families to pay that lower price for months to come,” Psaki said.
The Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy praised the action.
Biden announced the change at an April 12 event at the POET Biorefinery in Menlo, Iowa.
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