The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave the final approval to move forward with the sale of E15 ethanol blends. The final issue preventing E15 from moving forward focused on residual fuel left in the hose of single hose pumps that would offer E15 and other fuels. Most importantly, this announcement knocks down the lone, significant regulatory hurdle standing in the way of getting E15 into the marketplace for passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. With guidance on that issue from the EPA, fuel providers and retailers wishing to sell E15 can do so provided they register with EPA and follow approved misfueling mitigation protocols.
“Today’s announcement is a victory for American consumers. Since filing the Green Jobs waiver three years ago, the ethanol industry has worked extensively with the EPA to meet the conditions they placed on the approval of the waiver last year. At each step along the way, the industry has done its part to meet these conditions to get E15 into the marketplace,” from a statement from the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy. “Now, America is changing the way it fuels up. Higher level ethanol blends, like E15, offer consumers greater choice at the pump while further reducing our dependence on imported oil. From more than three decades, ethanol has been proven a safe and effective fuel component, reducing tailpipe emissions and improving the quality of our air, while simultaneously providing the much-needed octane to help boost engine performance.”
The action by EPA helps break down the ethanol “blend wall” thereby potentially allowing more ethanol into the market. Iowa State University has estimated that blending ethanol with petroleum keeps the price per gallon at the pump down by around a dollar a gallon. This is a demonstration of the Obama Administration making good on its commitments to work to reduce foreign oil imports and increase domestic energy production.
“The last significant federal hurdle has been cleared to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15% ethanol,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary. “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 advances that goal.”