The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicated that the model Misfueling Mitigation Plan for E15 as submitted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) meets the requirements of EPA’s E15 waiver decision. In January 2011, EPA expanded upon its October 2010 decision and approved the use of E15 for light duty passenger vehicles Model Year (MY) 2001 and newer.
In a letter to RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen, EPA stated that the RFA Misfueling Mitigation Plan “would generally be sufficient to satisfy the partial waivers’ requirements for an [misfueling mitigation plan.]”
“Americans will soon have a safe and effective new fuel option at the pump that is domestically-made and significantly cheaper than gasoline,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “E15 ethanol blends have withstood rigorous testing and mountains of challenges. With today’s announcement, EPA is clearing the way for E15 and allowing America’s ethanol industry to turn its full attention to educating retailers and consumers on the benefits of higher level ethanol blends and ensuring that state fuel regulations allow for their sale.”
On February 17, EPA approved health effects testing submitted by the industry and cleared the way for ethanol companies to register with EPA to offer E15. The RFA is aware of several ethanol producers that have submitted registration documents with EPA. More information, including a copy of RFA’s Misfueling Mitigation Plan, can be found on EPA’s E15 website: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/additive/e15/.
The next steps will include ensuring companies seeking to offer E15 are registered with EPA, they have submitted the Misfueling Mitigation plan, and are addressing lingering fuel regulatory requirements at the state level. Some states, including Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas, are prepared to welcome E15 and drivers in those states will be among the first to see E15 at the pump.
Coinciding with EPA’s approval of RFA’s Misfueling Mitigation Plan, the RFA released the E15 Retailer Handbook. This Handbook provides guidance for retailers in evaluating existing infrastructure compatibility, safety and conversion practices and state specific regulatory requirements Specifically, the Handbook offers guidance regarding:
• Federal regulatory requirements including blender registration, octane posting, proper pump labeling, compliance with an EPA-approved fuel survey, and OSHA regulations
• State and local fuel and safety regulations
• E15 conversion guidelines for fueling infrastructure
• Retail conversion procedures
• E15 fuel specifications and properties
• Transportation and storage requirements
• Safety and firefighting procedures
While the RFA is moving forward with its E15 outreach strategy, legislation on Capitol Hill and pending litigation over EPA’s waiver approval still linger. The RFA will continue to vigorously defend the Obama Administration’s approval of E15 – a process that resulted in enough miles of testing to make 12 round trips to the moon.
“Gaining meaningful market penetration for E15 will not happen overnight,” Dinneen cautioned. “It will take a constant and driven effort to educate consumers and fend off unfounded claims by anti-ethanol voices in the fuels industry and on Capitol Hill. The RFA is committed to providing sound information to all interested parties to dispel misinformation and facilitate a safe and smooth introduction of America’s newest fuel option.”