“Any change to expand the RVP waiver to E15 blends can
only be made by Congress,” said Rob Underwood, president
of PMAA, in a March 15 interview with CSP. “EPA lacks the
statutory authority to do so.”
The potential API, AFPM and PMAA legal challenges
are based on an interpretation of the Clean Air Act (CAA)
that the act authorizes the EPA to issue a fuel volatility
waiver only for E10 — not higher blends of ethanol.
Under this interpretation, additional authorizing legislation would be required to grant the EPA similar authority for
an E15 waiver.
PMAA also asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate E15 labeling at the point of sale.
Some 90 percent of retailers that sell E15 label the fuel
“Unleaded 88,” according to Growth Energy.
PMAA called the name confusing and deceptive because
it does not inform consumers that the fuel has a higher ethanol content than E10.
Recent focus group research sponsored by the Renewable
Fuels Association found:
• Eighty percent of consumers are unaware their gasoline
• Most consumers think less ethanol is better for their
vehicles. When asked why, one participant said, “Ethanol
is alcohol, and alcohol is toxic for my body. Why would I
want to put that in my vehicle?”
• Two-thirds of consumers support the summer E15 ban
because they question the higher blend’s safety and are
unsure if their cars can use E15.
The focus groups also showed messaging sways consumer
opinion. Participants responded most positively when E15
was presented as a “higher value” fuel. The key was E15’s
octane rating. Most drivers don’t understand octane, but they
assume it’s good. When consumers learned E15 has a higher
octane than E10, they were impressed.
The E15 summer waiver is near. The future of E15,
however, remains uncertain.
Kristen Wright is editor in chief of the PEI Journal. Reach
her at email@example.com.
Act. Further, EPA has agreed numerous times that the agency does
not have the authority to extend the Reid vapor pressure waiver to
“To make matters worse, the agency’s proposed changes to the
RINs market could increase costs for fuel producers and lead to
higher prices for consumers.”
The rulemaking is part of President Donald Trump’s cam-
paign promise to expand the ethanol market if elected.
In July 2018, Trump reminded the public that while he stuck
with ethanol before his election, “most of the other candidates”
Despite the EPA rulemaking and presidential support, other
hurdles remain for E15.
API and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
(AFPM) stated in a Feb. 8 letter to then-acting EPA Administrator
Andrew Wheeler that an EPA decision to grant an E15 waiver
would “invite litigation.”
The Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA)
voiced similar concerns.