Growth Energy estimates 2,800 retail sites in US to offer E15 by 2021; 350M new ethanol gallons annually
More than 2,800 retail sites will offer E15 by 2021, generating approximately 350 million new ethanol gallons annually, according to a one-pager released by biofuel trade association Growth Energy. The report touts the accomplishments of Prime the Pump, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping build the infrastructure and distribution of higher biofuel blends.
The Prime the Pump market development campaign has:
Doubled the number of E15 stations four years in a row to include 1,400 stations across 30 states.
Secured commitments of more than 2,800 retail sites that will offer E15 by 2021 generating approximately 350 million new ethanol gallons annually.
Added three major new retailers to the program in 2017, including a game-changing partnership with Kwik Trip which successfully rolled out E15 at 300 sites in just four months.
The organizations are arguing for relief from the current Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) limitations to further spur the growth of E15 sales.
Volatility defines its evaporation characteristics of a liquid fuel; RVP—expressed in pounds per square inch (psi)—is a common measure of and generic term for gasoline volatility. The higher the RVP of a fuel, the worse its emissions are. The RVP of gasoline can range from 7 to 15 psi.
Ethanol itself has a very low volatility: ~2 psi RVP. But when mixed into gasoline at low levels (<10%), ethanol reacts with certain hydrocarbons to increase the RVP of the finished blend approximately 1 psi, or generally to about 10 psi RVP.
EPA regulates the vapor pressure of gasoline sold at retail stations during the summer ozone season (1 June to 15 September) to reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline that contribute to ground-level ozone and diminish the effects of ozone-related health problems.
In 1990, Congress provided a one-pound RVP volatility waiver to 10 percent ethanol blends because ethanol fuels reduce tailpipe emissions; i.e., Congress gave EPA the authority to allow the use of E10 (the maximum amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline in 1990) during the summer season. In 2011, EPA approved the use of E15.
While the EPA has extended this waiver to blends below 10 percent, and the agency has assured members of Congress that a regulatory fix is under review, the agency has not yet provided RVP relief for E15.
Growth Energy is working to deliver support for legislation to extend the RVP waiver to E15.
All this [E15] momentum is at risk unless we get Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) relief to unleash the full potential of E15, because this RVP issue isn’t just about a 3-month dip in sales. It’s a major obstruction for those going the extra mile to expand into new markets and grow our industry. Retailers in many markets simply can’t or won’t retool their labels and fuel offerings each summer, which means that E15 is off the menu all year what’s at stake is 7 billion new gallons of ethanol demand.—Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor