The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the first applications for registration of ethanol for use in making gasoline that contains up to 15% ethanol (E15). Registration of ethanol to make E15 is a significant step toward its production, sale, and use in model year 2001 and newer gasoline-fueled cars and light trucks.
The Clean Air Act and EPA regulations require that manufacturers of gasoline and diesel fuels and fuel additives produced and commercially distributed for use in highway motor vehicles must register their gasoline and diesel fuels and fuel additives with EPA. The primary purpose of the registration program is to provide information for identifying and evaluating potential adverse effects of fuels and fuel additives emissions to help inform any future regulatory decision-making. All individual fuel and fuel additive manufacturers involved in manufacturing E15 must register.
The action follows a technical review required by law. Before E15 can be sold, manufactures must first take additional measures to help ensure retail stations and other gasoline distributors understand and implement labeling rules and other E15-related requirements. EPA is not requiring the use or sale of E15.
E15 is not permitted for use in motor vehicles built prior to 2001 model year and in off-road vehicles and equipment such as boats and lawn and garden equipment. Gas pumps dispensing E15 will be clearly labeled so consumers can make the right choice.
Ethanol has been blended into gasoline for more than 30 years, but the law limited it to 10% by volume for use in gasoline-fueled vehicles. In response to a request by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers under the Clean Air Act, EPA granted two partial waivers that taken together allow but do not require the introduction into commerce of gasoline that contains greater than 10 volume percent (vol%) ethanol and up to 15 vol% ethanol (E15) for use in model year (MY) 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles, subject to certain conditions.
On 13 October 2010, EPA granted the first partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2007 and newer light-duty motor vehicles. (Earlier post.)
On 21 January 2011, EPA granted the second partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. (Earlier post.)
These decisions were based on test results provided by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and other test data and information regarding the potential effect of E15 on vehicle emissions.
To enable widespread use of E15, the Obama Administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next 5 years. In addition, both through the Recovery Act and the 2008 Farm Bill, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Department of Agriculture have provided grants, loans and loan guarantees to spur development of the next generation of biofuels.