After three years, the American ethanol industry has finally satisfied all federal requirements for E15 commercial sales as set by the partial E15 waiver granted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 99 ethanol producers have funded a nationwide fuel survey as required by the partial waiver that represents the final federal hurdle to E15 availability.
Announcing the news, the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and the American Coalition for Ethanol praised the industry for stepping up to the plate to help bring E15 to the market. Despite owning just a handful of the nation’s 160,000 gas stations that will be the actual participants in the survey, ethanol producers are providing the lion’s share of funding for this survey in order to bring a higher performing, lower cost fuel to the market in E15.
“Americans remain under siege by high gas prices. While rhetorical battles in Washington are waged to find a solution to lowering prices, America’s ethanol producers are stepping up to bring a cleaner, cheaper, and more American-made fuel to the market. With this survey in place, E15 is now ready in the eyes of EPA for commercial sale,” the groups stated.
Efforts to bring E15 to pumps across the nation will now focus on states where regulatory issues must be addressed. Some states, like Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas are prepared for E15 and sales of E15 could commence as soon as all parties are registered with EPA and are implementing the Misfueling Mitigation Plan approved by EPA.
Additional challenges, including pending litigation and anti-ethanol posturing by some in Congress, make predicting the exact timeframe for the growth of E15 sales volumes unwise.
“America’s ethanol industry is committed to giving consumers greater choice at the pump by making E15 a commercial reality,” said RFA, Growth Energy, and ACE. “We will work diligently with the petroleum industry, gas retailers, automakers, and consumers to ensure E15 is used properly. But we will not stand idly by and allow some of these interests to make wild and unsubstantiated claims about ethanol and E15 in order to malign ethanol and scare consumers. The fact remains that E15 is the most tested fuel ever approved by EPA and is perfectly safe and effective for those engines approved in the waiver.”
The fuel survey is required annually and will be conducted by RFGSA. The survey will be collecting more than 7500 samples each year of all gasolines available nationwide and will begin on May 1, 2012.