It’s summer vacation time for 15% ethanol blends but not by choice. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s outdated interpretation of Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations is preventing the sale of E15 in most of the country during the busy summer driving season, adding billions to travelers’ fuel costs,” said American Coalition for Ethanol senior vice president Ron Lamberty. By unnecessarily limiting the sale of E15 to only flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) owners from June 1 to September 15 in areas where most gasoline is used, Lamberty says EPA is effectively requiring drivers to purchase lower octane fuel for 5 to 40 cents.
Iowa leads the nation with 20 registered E15 stations and Iowa Renewable Fuels AssociationManaging Director Lucy Norton says they have to shut down the pumps in the summertime. “If oil refiners chose to ship gasoline with the proper vapor pressure into our state, Iowa motorists could have expanded access to cleaner-burning, lower-cost E15 year-round, instead of it being temporarily restricted to only flex-fuel vehicles during the summer,” said Norton.
The Iowa legislature passed legislation to help ease costs Iowa retailers may incur when obtaining gasoline suitable for blending with 15 percent ethanol during the summer months. Under the legislation, Iowa’s E15 retailer tax credit to 10 cents from June 1 to September 15, up from the three cents it is the rest of the year.
“Ironically, E15 has a lower RVP than the fuel 95% of drivers are using, so EPA’s unwillingness to change a 25 year-old regulation effectively mandates higher evaporative emissions and higher prices during the busiest driving season of the year,” said Lamberty.