The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has formally issued an emergency fuel waiver to allow the sale of E15 gasoline through the summer – a win for farmers, consumers and the environment, according to Indiana Farm Bureau.
E15 gasoline uses a 15% ethanol blend, and the EPA’s action will mean that it is treated the same as E10, enabling E15 sales throughout the summer.
“This action ensures that drivers will continue to have access to E15, saving them money while still maintaining air quality,” said INFB President Randy Kron.
Ethanol is an extremely important market for farmers – and it’s particularly important to Indiana farmers, Kron added.
“Indiana has 15 ethanol plants, and about 45% of the corn we grow goes into ethanol,” he noted.
In April, President Joe Biden had announced that he was seeking a waiver. According to the National Corn Growers Association, ethanol has been priced at wholesale an average of 80 cents less per gallon than unblended gasoline through March, and drivers currently save up to 20 cents or more per gallon with E15.
Historically, sales of ethanol blends greater than 10% have been prohibited in the summer throughout much of the country. The issue is Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), which in warmer weather can be higher for fuels with a higher percentage of ethanol.
The consensus now, however, is that E15 is a little bit lower than E10 in terms of RVP, said Andy Tauer, INFB executive director of public policy. Therefore, EPA is extending the 1-psi RVP waiver that currently applies to E10 gasoline to E15, which will enable E15 sales throughout the summer driving season.
“Treating E15 the same as regular fuel in the market maintains air quality, saves consumers money, and expands the ethanol market for farmers,” Tauer said. “And it reduces our dependence on foreign oil.”
According to a news release, EPA will continue to monitor the supply with industry and federal partners, and the agency expects to issue new waivers effectively extending the emergency fuel waiver until the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances due to the war in Ukraine are no longer present.