PMAA to Rally Support for Proposed 9.7% Ethanol Cap in Gasoline

Source: By Edgar Ang, OPIS • Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) member associations will be on Capitol Hill on Thursday to highlight their concerns over E15, Rob Underwood, the organization’s president, told OPIS on Monday.

Around 250 marketers and state association executives from across the country will ask lawmakers to co-sponsor HR 5180, which would cap the ethanol mandate at 9.7% in the nation’s fuel supply.

OPIS reported last Wednesday that the bill, HR 5180, aimed to “alleviate the ethanol blend wall under the renewable fuel program” by amending the Clean Air Act. In addition to capping the total volume of ethanol at below 10%, the bill would require EPA to meet statutory deadlines when setting Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) volumes. Renewable groups have responded negatively to the bill.

“PMAA does not support full repeal of the RFS, but we do support a reasonable RFS compromise that maintains ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply, but not to a level that would force dispensing and storage of E15 at the retail level because federal, state, and local laws and regulations, fire codes and commercial insurance policies, require the use of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified storage and dispensing equipment,” Underwood said.

The problem is that existing retail equipment is certified by UL to use ethanol blends only up to 10%, he said.

Dispensing ethanol blends higher than 10% with noncertified equipment would expose retailers to liability for noncompliance with state fire codes and would subject them to significant civil penalties and possible closures, Underwood said.

There is no path forward to recertify existing equipment for blends greater than 10% short of total replacement at a cost of more than $200,000 per retail site, PMAA said.

E10 plus blends may lead to a significant increase in equipment failure. As a result, releases from UST systems may increase exponentially, it said.
Besides pressing EPA not to exceed 9.7% ethanol in the gasoline supply for 2017, PMAA is pushing EPA and the White House Office of Management and Budget to recognize the real world lack of demand for E85. PMAA and marketers will continue to educate policy makers/EPA to allow marketers to continue to sell E0.

Other issues PMAA will be highlighting include its concerns over the finalized 70ppb ozone rule, which could potentially force more counties into nonattainment resulting in higher prices at the pump; the Department of Labor proposed overtime eligibility rule; and PMAA-supported placarding language included in the Senate bill reauthorizing PHMSA.