E15 Ethanol Blend Now OK for Sale at US Gas Stations, Ag Secretary Vilsack Comments
Monday, June 18th, 2012
Statement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack:
"Today, the last significant federal hurdle has been cleared to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15). This gets us one step closer to giving the American consumer a real choice at the pump. The public has a right to choose between imported oil and home-grown energy and today's action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advances that goal. Today's action demonstrates that the Obama Administration is making good on its commitment to work to reduce foreign oil imports and increase domestic energy production, including production of renewable biofuels. In addition, the EPA has fulfilled its responsibility to the American public to ensure that E15 is a safe and reliable fuel. Home grown biofuels are providing sustainable rural jobs that cannot be exported. Today's action proves yet again that renewable biofuels are not a dream of the future, but are a reality, and are making a difference today."
The E15 partial waivers include conditions (listed here) requiring each fuel and fuel additive manufacturer subject to the waivers to submit to EPA a misfueling mitigation plan (MMP), for EPA’s approval, and to fully implement the EPA-approved MMP prior to introduction of the fuel or fuel additive into commerce as appropriate.
On March 2, 2012, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) submitted the “Renewable Fuels Association Model E15 Misfueling Mitigation Plan” (PDF) (20 pp, 96K, March 2, 2012 Model Plan) to EPA for review. RFA developed the March 2, 2012 Model Plan to help fuel and fuel additive manufacturers meet the misfueling mitigation conditions of the partial waivers. On March 15, EPA sent RFA al etter informing RFA that the March 2, 2012 Model Plan would generally be sufficient to satisfy the partial waivers’ requirements for an MMP. EPA also noted that any company that wishes to use the March 2, 2012 Model Plan must notify EPA in writing that the company seeks approval of the Model Plan for the company’s use in meeting the waiver requirements for an MMP. EPA indicated that it may seek additional information and/or misfueling mitigation measures as needed from companies requesting to use the Model Plan.
On June 15, 2012, EPA approved the first MMPs for individual companies. The companies whose plans were approved had notified EPA in writing that they wished to use the March 2, 2012 Model Plan. Before approving their requests, EPA sought more information about how E15 would be dispensed, particularly from blender pumps. After working with RFA and individual plan submitters, EPA determined that an addendum to RFA’s Retailer Handbook (see here), which is referenced in the Model Plan, provided the necessary information for EPA to approve the individual plan submitters’ MMPs. EPA sent approval letters to companies (see sample letter here). A list of companies that have approved MMP submissions may be found here. The list is updated at least every two months.