Last week, the Petroleum Marketers Association of American (PMAA) learned that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) has decided to pull a bill that was to be considered in mark-up this week due to lack of votes. The bill, S. 517, known as the “Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act,” would extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10%, which would allow retailers across the country to sell E15 year-round.
Prior to the June hearing on S. 517, PMAA sent a letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Delaware). The letter argued that before Congress proceeds any further on granting a RVP waiver to blends above E10, it must first hold a hearing on the effects of ethanol blends on existing underground storage tank (UST) system infrastructure.
The introduction of ethanol blends higher than 10% (including E15) present significant economic and legal impediments to many gasoline retailers, as well as consumer awareness issues that go beyond the price of the fuel. Extending the RVP waiver to E15 at this point further exacerbates these concerns and could force many retailers to invest considerable time and money on an accelerated schedule to switch to an alternative fuel storage and distribution system to remain competitive, according to PMAA.