EPA Approves 24 Registration Applications to Produce Ethanol for E15 Blended Gasoline

April 3, 2012 02:11 AM
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But hurdles remain

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on April 3, 2012, approved 24 registration applications from 20 companies to begin producing ethanol to blend into E15 gasoline. Retailers could begin selling E15 as early as this summer, the Renewable Fuels Association said. Ethanol producers and retailers must still demonstrate compliance with local regulations and misfueling mitigation plans before E15 can be legally sold. In addition, other federal, state and local requirements and practical concerns, such as dispenser and tank compatibility, must be addressed. Since a number of states restrict the sale of some gasoline-ethanol blends, state law changes may be needed before E15 may be sold in those states.

Details: In response to a request by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers under the Clean Air Act, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted two partial waivers that taken together allow but do not require the introduction into commerce of gasoline that contains greater than 10 volume percent (vol%) ethanol and up to 15 vol% ethanol (E15) for use in model year (MY) 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles, subject to certain conditions. On October 13, 2010, EPA granted the first partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2007 and newer light-duty motor vehicles (i.e., cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). On January 21, 2011, EPA granted the second partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. These decisions were based on test results provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other test data and information regarding the potential effect of E15 on vehicle emissions.

E15 may be lawfully sold by a fuel or fuel additive manufacturer only after the manufacturer has registered E15 and met the conditions of the partial waivers. For more information on fuel registration, visit the Registration and Health Effects Testing page. There are a number of additional factors, including requirements under other federal, state, and local laws, that may also affect the distribution of E15.

Learn more about EPA actions related to E15 by using the following links to Frequently Asked Questions, Notices & Regulations, Petition for New Rulemaking, E15 Registration and Misfueling Mitigation Plans.

Recent Activities

  • On April 2, 2012, EPA approved the first applications for registering ethanol for use in making E15. For more information, please see the E15 Registration page and the Registration and Health Effects Testing page.

  • On March 15, 2012, EPA informed the Renewable Fuels Association by letter that its Model E15 Misfueling Mitigation Plan would generally be sufficient to satisfy the partial waivers’ requirement for a misfueling mitigation plan. For more information, please see the section on misfueling mitigation plans page.

  • On February 17, 2012, EPA released an evaluation of information submitted by the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy for satisfying the emissions and health effects data requirements for registration of E15. The Evaluation Document concludes that the submission would be sufficient to satisfy those requirements. Fuel and fuel additive manufacturers who wish to register E15 may choose to rely on the submission for completing their applications.

  • EPA issued a Rule (PDF) (45 pp, 991K, published July 25, 2011) to help inform consumers about the appropriate use of E15 and reduce the potential for misfueling of vehicles, engines and equipment that are prohibited from using E15.

Comments: I have frequently noted that one should not expect a quick market penetration of E15 blends -- for a host of reasons, but especially the lack of infrastructure needed, such as expensive blender pumps and separate tanks, both of which retail gasoline establishments will be cautious about spending on, notably in this economic environment. Then there is the consumer anxiety about the product, along with a lack of auto warranty of such blends -- despite research which clearly shows the product safe for the vehicles and trucks already approved for the blend.

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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