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EPA proposes rule allowing sale of E15 year-round; improving RIN market transparency

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed regulatory changes to allow gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol (E15) to be sold to 2001 and newer vehicles year-round across the country. The proposal takes advantage of the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for the summer months that has historically been applied only to E10.

E15 is already approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles—roughly 90% of the vehicles on the road in the US today. Currently, the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations force fuel retailers to restrict sales of E15 to flex fuel vehicles (FFV) only from 1 June to 15 September, the peak driving season.

EPA is also proposing regulatory changes to modify elements of the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to enhance transparency in the market and deter price manipulation.

Under the proposed expansion, E15 would be allowed to be sold year-round without additional RVP control, rather than just eight months of the year.

Proposed reforms to RIN markets include:

  • Prohibiting certain parties from being able to purchase separated RINs;

  • Requiring public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds;

  • Limiting the length of time a non-obligated party can hold RINs; and

  • Increasing the compliance frequency of the program from once annually to quarterly.

Biofuel organizations responded favorably.

The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) is excited to hear the EPA released the proposed rule of permitting year-around sales of E15. This moves the rule in the right direction in hopes it is ready by the summer driving season beginning June 1. Year-round E15 sales would be a win for Iowa corn farmers and Iowa drivers.

We need to better understand the language included about Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) and the impact that it would have to our farmers. We will review the details and will be asking our leaders and ICGA members to engage on the rule making.

—Curt Mether, President of ICGA

Growth Energy, the nation’s leading advocate for ethanol, welcomed the proposal, but also cautioned against any changes to the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) market that could undercut investment in delivering higher ethanol blends.


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