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EPA Sends Proposed Rule Allowing Year-Round Sale of E15 to OMB for Final Review


Last week, EPA sent the final draft of its proposed RFS reform rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. OMB review marks the final step before the proposal is released for public comment. The proposed rule is important to petroleum marketers because it would allow the year-round sale of E15 blended gasoline. Currently, E15 may only be sold during the winter driving season because it can’t meet federal summertime Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements for evaporative emissions. The proposed rule would change all that by extending the existing one-pound waiver allowed exclusively for E10 to E15 blends. If this happens, E15 will meet summertime RVP standards and can be sold year-round, UST and automobile compatibility concerns notwithstanding.

However, extending the one-pound RVP waiver to E15 through the rulemaking process is controversial because the statutory language of the Clean Air Act specifically limits the waiver to E10 blends. Consequently, opponents of E15 argue that any such change can only be made by Congress through the legislative process, specifically by amending the Clean Air Act. Despite this hurdle, the Trump Administration is directing EPA to make the change through a rulemaking to be finalized by the end of the summer. In the meantime, E15 opponents will likely sue to prevent the rule from taking effect. FUELIOwa supports the move toward year-round sales of E15 but the move needs to address the significant infrastructure hurdles that exist today for marketers to immediately sell E15. The rulemaking also proposes regulatory changes to modify the RIN compliance under the RFS in an effort to stabilize the RIN market by limiting speculation.

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