The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule making that allows gas stations around the country to sell E-15 (gasoline that’s 15% ethanol) during the summer months (June 1 through September 15). The rule overturns the EPA’s long-standing prohibition on the sale of E-15 during high-ozone season by allowing the fuel to use the 1 pound per square inch (psi) Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver, which was previously limited to summer sales of E10.
In the short-term, the EPA rule will face legal challenges and a court may disallow E-15 summer sales pending a decision. If deemed legal, marketplace sales may not be immediate. Instead, like E10, the number of gas stations selling E-15 may gradually expand and the availability of pure gas would continue to decline.
SEMA opposed the EPA rule allowing expanded E-15 sales. Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E-15, can cause damage to vehicles manufactured before 2001, and certain high-performance parts.
A federal law called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the primary driver for E-15 sales. The EPA has turned to E-15 since the U.S. is not meeting RFS blended fuel mandates through sales of E10. The SEMA Action Network (SAN) has urged the U.S. Congress to remove or lower the mandates. The SAN will keep you informed when legislation is being considered in Congress.
Thank you to all the automotive enthusiasts who contacted the EPA in opposition to the EPA’s proposal to allow year-round E-15 sales.