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EPA issues emergency fuel waiver for E-15 sales to address supply issues

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing an emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 gasoline—gasoline blended with 15% ethanol—to be sold during the summer driving season.

EPA intends the waiver to provide relief at the pump from ongoing market supply issues created by the ongoing war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East by increasing fuel supply and offering a variety of gasoline fuel blends from which consumers can choose. Current estimates indicate that on average, E15 is about $0.25 a gallon cheaper than E10.

The Clean Air Act allows the EPA Administrator, in consultation with the Department of Energy, temporarily to waive certain fuel requirements to address shortages. As a result of ongoing issues with gasoline supplies Administrator Regan determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and has granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate supply of gasoline is available. As required by the Clean Air Act, EPA and DOE evaluated the situation and determined that granting the waiver was in the public interest.

Currently, in approximately two-thirds of the country, E15 cannot be sold from terminals starting on 1 May and at retail stations starting on 1 June. EPA is providing relief by extending the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure waiver that currently applies to E10 gasoline to E15, which will enable E15 sales throughout the summer driving season in these areas, if necessary. This action only extends the 1-psi waiver to E15 in parts of the country where it already exists for E10. E15 can already be sold year-round in parts of the country that have a Reformulated Gasoline program.

Because the RVP of E10 and E15 gasoline used by consumers will be the same, EPA does not expect any impact on air quality from this limited action. EPA’s research has shown no significant impact on evaporative emissions when the 1-psi waiver is extended to E15. With no significant impacts on emissions from cars and trucks, EPA expects consumers can continue to use E15 without concern that its use in the summer will impact air quality.

EPA’s emergency fuel waiver will go into effect on 1 May when terminal operators would otherwise no longer be able to sell E15 in the affected regions of the country and will last through 20 May which is the statutory maximum of 20 days. EPA will continue to monitor the supply with industry and federal partners, and the Agency expects to issue new waivers effectively extending the emergency fuel waiver until such time as the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East are no longer present.

As of 29 March 2024, US total gasoline stocks are approximately 3% below the 5-year average. Although within the 5-year range for this time of year, gasoline stocks are still lower than forecast as a result of lower production at refineries in the first quarter of 2024. In addition, US gasoline demand remains strong.

The 4-week rolling average of demand for 29 March 2024 was about 1% above the 5-year seasonal average. The advent of the summer driving seasons will likely result in higher demand.

Pressure on US markets, including production and distribution of gasoline and other petroleum products due to decreased refining capacity and increased domestic demand will continue for the foreseeable future, according to the EPA.



The previous administration gave waivers to many refineries essentially destroying the cellulose ethanol industry not a smart move.

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