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US EPA issues Emergency Fuel Waiver for E15 sales

US EPA issues Emergency Fuel Waiver for E15 sales
Renewable fuel stakeholders have a mixed response to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) multi-year Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2023-2025 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance period proposal (photo courtesy EPA).

As part of President Biden’s commitment to providing Americans relief from market supply issues created by Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing an emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 gasoline—gasoline that uses a 15 percent ethanol blend—to be sold during the summer driving season.

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According to a statement, this action will increase fuel supply and provide consumers with more choices at the pump.

The waiver is a critical step to implementing President Biden’s announcement that he is taking action to protect Americans from supply crises by reducing reliance on fossil fuels, building real US energy independence, supporting American agriculture and manufacturing, and accelerating the transition to clean energy.

President Biden and this Administration are committed to protecting American consumers from the impacts of Russia’s unprovoked attack against Ukraine, said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

This action is being taken to counteract Russia’s unjustified, unprovoked, and unconscionable war against Ukraine and its profound impact on global and domestic energy markets. EPA and the US Department of Energy (DOE) have been actively monitoring market supply disruptions caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Putin’s war has had a profound impact on global and domestic energy markets. In consultation with Secretary Granholm, I have concluded that it is necessary to take action to allow E15 sales during the summer driving season in order to minimize and prevent disruption of summertime fuel supply to consumers, Michael S. Regan said.

Temporary waiver in the public interest

The Clean Air Act allows the EPA Administrator, in consultation with DOE, to temporarily waive certain fuel requirements to address shortages.

As a result of the war in Ukraine, Administrator Regan determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and has granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate supply of gasoline is available.

As required by law, EPA and DOE evaluated the situation and determined that granting the waiver was in the public interest.

Extend 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure waiver

Currently, in roughly two-thirds of the country, E15 cannot be sold from terminals starting on May 1, 2022, and at retail stations starting on June 1, 2022.

EPA is extending the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 gasoline to E15, which will enable E15 sales throughout the summer driving season in these areas, if necessary.

This action only extends the 1-psi waiver to E15 in parts of the country where it already exists for E10. E15 can already be sold year-round in parts of the country that have a Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) program.

No significant impact on summer air quality

Because the RVP of E10 and E15 gasoline used by consumers will be the same (both will be 1 psi higher than otherwise required by EPA or state regulations) EPA does not expect any impact on air quality from this limited action.

EPA’s research has shown no significant impact on evaporative emissions when the 1-psi waiver is extended to E15.

With no significant impacts on emissions from cars and trucks, EPA expects consumers can continue to use E15 without concern that its use in the summer will impact air quality.

EPA’s emergency fuel waiver will go into effect on May 1, 2022, when terminal operators would otherwise no longer be able to sell E15 in the affected regions of the country and will last for the statutory maximum of 20 days.

EPA will continue to monitor the supply with industry and federal partners, and the Agency expects to issue new waivers effectively extending the emergency fuel waiver until such time as the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances due to the war in Ukraine are no longer present.

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