PMAA Says E15 Gasoline Not Ready for ‘Prime Time’

Source: By Edgar Ang, OPIS • Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2018

In the past few weeks, several politicians and trade groups have responded to the proposal for year-round sales of E15 gasoline.

On Monday, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) said that E15 gasoline was not ready for “prime time,” or year-round sales, citing ongoing concerns about legislative procedure, compatibility with fuel requirements of some motor vehicles and boats, and air quality issues.

PMAA said that President Donald Trump is considering announcing a new policy while in Iowa this week that would allow year-round sales of E15. Currently,
each year, the EPA regulates Reid vapor pressure (RVP) for gasoline and gasoline-ethanol blended from June 1 until Sept. 15.

During these months, the EPA restricts the retail sale of fuels with ethanol above 10%.

In a letter to Trump, PMAA expressed significant procedural and policy concerns with respect to changing the RFS in a way that benefits only one of the many
stakeholders affected by the decision to sell E15 year-round.

On the procedural front, PMAA said that section 211 (h)(4) of the Clean Air Act specifically limits the one-pound summertime RVP waiver to gasoline blends
containing between 9%-10% volume ethanol. Therefore, any change to expand the RVP waiver to E15 blends can only be made by Congress and not the EPA, which lacks the statutory authority to do so, PMAA said.

PMAA added that from a policy perspective, the year-round sale of E15 raises serious concerns regarding E15 compatibility with motor vehicles, motorcycles,
marine engines and small gasoline powered equipment.

Midwestern senators have been pushing for the policy change for months, PMAA said. However, last Thursday, a bipartisan group of 20 senators wrote a letter to Trump urging him not to announce the policy change allowing year-round sales of E15 because doing so “would do nothing to address the policies impacting refinery jobs, could hurt millions of consumers whose vehicles and equipment are not compatible with higher ethanol blended gasoline and risk worsening air
quality,” it said.

Furthermore, the senators stated that the EPA doesn’t have the legal authority to exempt E15 from Clean Air Act requirements, and doing so would go against
the long-standing EPA interpretation on E15, PMAA said.

–Edgar Ang,