House bill to expand Reid vapor pressure waiver to E15 introduced

By Erin Voegele | April 15, 2015

Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., recently introduced legislation that aims to expand the U.S. EPA’s existing waiver for Reid vapor pressure to fuels blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol. If signed into law, the bill would allow E15 to be sold during summer months.

The bill, H.R. 1736, was introduced April 13 and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. To date, three cosponsors have signed on in support of the measure, including Reps. Ken Buck, R-Colo.; Rodney Davis, R-Ill.; and Kristi Noem, R-S.D.

“Ethanol provides consumers in Nebraska and across America with a competitive, clean, domestically-produced alternative,” Smith said. “However, burdensome EPA regulations are restricting consumers’ options at the fuel pump.

“Though E10 received a waiver decades ago, the same regulatory relief has not yet been extended to E15,” Smith continued. “We must pursue an all-of-the-above energy policy, which includes ethanol and other renewable fuels, by reducing red tape and encouraging innovation in the energy marketplace.”

Growth Energy has issued a statement in support of the bill. “We applaud this effort by Congressman Smith to establish greater consumer choice and to remove a major hurdle preventing consumers the opportunity to purchase higher blends such as E15,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “This has been a major obstacle ever since Growth Energy led the successful effort to get E15 approved for commercial use.”

“We are hopeful that Congressman Smith’s legislative efforts are successful in granting this much needed waiver to overcome the single largest regulatory hurdle to ensuring consumers have access to higher blends such as E15,” Buis continued.

Legislation that would expand the waiver for Reid vapor pressure to fuel blends with more than 10 percent ethanol is also pending in the U.S. Senate. In March, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced the fuel Choice and Deregulation Act of 2015, or S. 889, which includes a provision to expand the waiver. That bill was introduced March 26 and referred to the Committee on Finance.