The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today gave final approval to retailers to sell gasoline containing up to 15-percent ethanol. However, it may be a while before motorists see more E15 pumps.
Monte Shaw, with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says the oil industry has thrown up a road block. “Due to a quirk in the federal fuel regulations, the gasoline that you blend to create E10 during the summer is different than the gasoline that is required to make E15 in the summer. And the oil industry is only sending the blend stock for E10 up the pipeline,” Shaw said. “Without the proper blend stock, we cannot actually create an E15 that meets the federal fuel regulations.”
Retailers wanting to add E15 may be forced to wait until mid-September when the “winter blend” becomes available. Shaw says the winter blend can be used to make both E10 and E15 fuel.
Gasoline blended with 15-percent ethanol is already available at a few gas stations in Iowa. It was previously cleared for use in flex fuel vehicles and is giving those motorists a cheaper option at the pump. “Where it is listed in Iowa for sale today to flexible fuel vehicles, it is anywhere from 5-to-10-cents a gallon cheaper than E10, which is 10-to-13-cents cheaper than (gasoline not blended with ethanol),” Shaw said.
The EPA action today allows E15 to be used in cars and light trucks built since 2000.
STATEMENT FROM U.S. AG SECRETARY TOM VILSACK ON THE EPA DECISION:
“Today, the last significant federal hurdle has been cleared to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). 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.”
GOV. TERRY RANSTAD RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:
“I am pleased with the announcement today regarding the EPA’s decision on the sale of E15. It’s a timely coincidence that earlier today, I proclaimed June 15, 2012 as “Iowa Ethanol Day” on the 34 year anniversary of the first gallon of ethanol blended gas being sold in our state. The Lt. Governor and I support the expanded opportunities that clean and economical renewable fuels hold for the state.”