The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) sent letters to the House and Senate thanking Senators Deb Fischer, Joe Donnelly and Chuck Grassley, and Representatives Adrian Smith and David Loebsack (D-Iowa) for their leadership and support by introducing the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517, H.R. 1311). This bipartisan legislation clarifies that E15 should be allowed for sale year-round, increasing market access opportunities for higher blends of ethanol while eliminating confusion at the pump.
The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control the evaporative emissions of gasoline, or Reid vapor pressure (RVP), during the June 1 – September 15 summer driving season to reduce smog from vehicle emissions. In 2011, EPA approved the use of E15, a clean and safe fuel with lower RVP emissions than E10 and straight gasoline. Congress granted E10 an RVP waiver because E10 reduces tailpipe emissions, but EPA has historically refused to extend the same RVP waiver to E15, even though higher ethanol blends are less volatile, and fuel such as E15 further decreases emissions.
Consequently, retailers are largely prohibited from selling E15 for use in 2001 and newer vehicles from June 1 – September 15, robbing consumers of the opportunity to buy a lower cost product, as E15 typically costs 2 – 10 cents less per gallon than E10 and gasoline.
ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings noted in the letters that, while ACE is encouraged by statements from President Trump that EPA will revisit this regulatory burden, the coalition also strongly supports this legislation.
ACE’s annual Washington, D.C., fly-in coming up March 22 – 23 will serve as an opportunity for its members to rally more support. “Nearly 70 of ACE’s grassroots members will be calling on your colleagues to co-sponsor the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act during our annual Washington, D.C., fly-in,” Jennings expressed in the letters.
Cosponsors of S. 517 currently include Senators Baldwin, Blunt, Durbin, Ernst, Heitkamp, Hoeven, Klobuchar, McCaskill, Roberts, Sasse and Thune. Co-sponsors of H.R. 1311 currently include Representatives Cartwright, Cramer, Davis, King, Kinzinger, Peterson, Pocan and Walz.