EPA to Expand E15 Ethanol Fuel Sales into Summer
Following long-fought debate, the Biden Administration announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will issue a temporary waiver to allow for the summertime sale of gasoline with up to 15% ethanol (E15) to help address high fuel costs. Currently, E15 cannot be sold between June 1 and September 15 due to fuel-volatility concerns that higher blends of ethanol combined with warmer temperatures may lead to increased ground-level ozone formation and smog. The agency will review the waiver every 20 days to determine if remaining in place is justified.
Summertime sales of E15 has been a hot-button issue for years. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA issued a rule to permanently allow year-round sale of E15; however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found this rule unlawful and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the appeal. The Biden Administration says this latest decision is based on its authority to pursue a temporary emergency action.
Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E15, can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers in older automobiles that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials and in certain specialty high-performance equipment installed on newer vehicles. SEMA opposes the expansion of E15 gasoline as a lack of clear labeling on gas pumps does not provide sufficient protection to guard against misfuelling.