EPA Proposes Rule for Year-Round E15

Adoption of E15 has made progress nationwide. KyCorn is hopeful the waiver will open doors to increased availability of E15 in Kentucky.

Adoption of E15 has made progress nationwide. KyCorn is hopeful the waiver will open doors to increased availability of E15 in Kentucky.

On March 12, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulatory changes to allow gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) to take advantage of the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for the summer months that has historically been applied only to E10. EPA is also proposing regulatory changes to modify elements of the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to enhance transparency in the market and deter price manipulation.

“Consistent with President Trump’s direction, EPA is working to propose and finalize these changes by the summer driving season,” said Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We will be holding a public hearing at the end of this month to gather important feedback.”

Under the proposed expansion, E15 would be allowed to be sold year-round without additional RVP control, rather than just eight months of the year.

Proposed reforms to RIN markets include:

  • Prohibiting certain parties from being able to purchase separated RINs;

  • Requiring public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds;

  • Limiting the length of time a non-obligated party can hold RINs; and

  • Increasing the compliance frequency of the program from once annually to quarterly.

EPA welcomes public comment on the proposal and intends to hold a public hearing on March 29. Learn more about the rule and public hearing. Comments will be accepted through April 29. Leave a comment.

“Today’s proposed rule is great progress to getting the rule-making completed by the start of the summer driving season, June 1,” said Lynn Crisp, National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) president, on March 12. “NCGA appreciates EPA’s efforts to meet this deadline, and we look forward to fully reviewing the content of the proposed rule. We will be providing comments to EPA and urging our membership to provide input during the comment process as well.

“Allowing year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol not only grows a domestic market for farmers, but E15 gives consumers more choice at the pump, a lower price option and greater environmental benefits from a cleaner fuel. It’s time to remove the barrier to all of these benefits.”

Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper also commented on the proposed rule, saying the EPA was one step closer to making good on President Trump’s promise to allow year-round sales of E15.

“With just 80 days left before the start of the summer driving season, finalizing and implementing the E15 regulatory fix remains a tall order. That is why we have urged EPA to separate the year-round E15 provisions from the RIN reform provisions, and move forward as quickly as possible to finalize a practical and defensible year-round E15 solution. With ethanol plants shutting down or idling and farmers experiencing the worst conditions in more than a decade, removing the summertime ban on E15 once and for all would send a desperately needed signal to the marketplace.”