By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo
Currently, citing air quality concerns, Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations force fuel retailers to restrict sales of E15 to only flex fuel vehicles from June 1 to Sept. 15, the peak driving season. For years, ethanol proponents have fought to have the RVP waived to open the door for expanded summer ethanol sales. On Oct. 9, President Donald Trump proposed just that.
“We heard some needed good news out of the president today. They are taking away some regulations that were simply unexplainable barriers to ethanol demand and corn demand. The news today is especially good because we are harvesting a very large crop of corn and wondering where we are going to put it. This opens the door for additional demand for ethanol,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “In essence, E15 is a cleaner burning fuel but it had this restriction on being sold in the summer months for air quality reasons. You can see how confusing this was. The fuel industry was reluctant to put E15 in because they didn’t want to confuse customers by taking it away in the summer. Now it may make a lot more sense for more retailers to add in E15.”
E15 is a fuel blend containing 15% ethanol and is approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles, making up roughly 90% of the vehicles on the road today.
“President Trump’s announcement today is a win for consumers, a win for our environment and a much-needed win for Ohio’s corn farmers,” said Jed Bower, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “We have worked on removing this outdated administrative impairment for a long time. We applaud the President for standing up for farmers, biofuels, and for following through on his commitment to allow consumers year-round access to the lowest cost fuel available for the majority of vehicles on the road today.”
Ohio currently has more than 26 stations offering E15 to 2001 and newer vehicles. E15 is often sold at a three- to 10-cent per gallon discount compared to regular gas.
“Today’s announcement removes one of the barriers to offering 88 octane fuel for most fuel retailers and means consumers have access year-round to a cleaner burning, higher octane fuel,” said Patty Mann, a farmer from Jackson Center. “The president’s announcement is exciting as it will allow for year-round sales of E15, and this is welcome news for farmers as they go to work harvesting this year’s corn crop.”