The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new regulatory changes to allow E15 (gasoline with up to 15 percent ethanol) to be sold year round. The proposal notes that E15 is approved for all 2001 and newer vehicles and that the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressur (RVP) waiver for summer is already used with E10.
The proposal would essentially extend the RVP to E15, which are currently restricted from June 1 to September 15 with only a Flex Fuel Vehicle exception. Also included in the proposal are regulatory changes to modify elements of the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance scheme under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The EPA says these changes would enhance transparency and deter price manipulation.
Under the proposed expansion, E15 would be allowed to be sold year-round without additional RVP control, rather than just eight months of the year.
Proposed reforms to RIN markets include:
- Prohibiting certain parties from being able to purchase separated RINs;
- Requiring public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds;
- Limiting the length of time a non-obligated party can hold RINs; and
- Increasing the compliance frequency of the program from once annually to quarterly.
Most of the ethanol used in ethanol-mixed fuel in the U.S. is made from heavily subsidized corn. Ethanol fuel mixtures return lower fuel economy than do pure gasoline, making them controversial. Not surprisingly, the Iowa Corn Growers Association came out in favor of the EPA’s proposal, as did Growth Energy, an ethanol-focused lobbying group.