This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the first applications for registration of ethanol for use in making gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). This is a critical next step toward further reducing U.S. dependence on petroleum and creating the market conditions in which domestically produced, next generation biofuels can compete.
In a February 24 SBFF post , we reported that one of the solutions to soaring gasoline prices – increased production and use of biofuels – is currently available, but that this potential remedy was blocked by saturated ethanol markets. We suggested that accelerating the process to get E15 to market would help. This week, the EPA reported progress.
According to a statement from the EPA on April 2:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the first applications for registration of ethanol for use in making gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol – known as E15. Ethanol is a renewable fuel that can be mixed with gasoline. For over 30 years ethanol has been blended into gasoline, but the law limited it to 10 percent by volume for use in gasoline-fueled vehicles. 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. . . .
Today’s action follows an extensive technical review required by law. Registration is a prerequisite to introducing E15 into the marketplace. Before it 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.
Ethanol is considered a renewable fuel because it is generally produced from plant products or wastes and not from fossil fuels. Ethanol is blended with gasoline for use in most areas across the country. After extensive vehicle testing by DOE and other organizations, EPA issued two partial waivers raising the allowable ethanol volume to 15 percent for use in model year 2001 and newer cars and light trucks.
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.
For more information about EPA and E15, click here .