House bill aims to extend RVP waiver to ethanol blends beyond E10

By Erin Voegele | April 23, 2015

Bill Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, recently introduced legislation in the house that includes a provision to extend the ethanol waiver for Reid vapor pressure (RVP) to ethanol blends with more than 10 percent ethanol. The bill is the House companion to the Fuel Choice and Deregulation Act of 2015, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate in March by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

The House bill, H.R. 1944, was introduced by Blum on April 22 and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. To date, Reps. Ken Buck, R-Colo.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; and David Young, R-Iowa, have signed on to cosponsor the measure.

In addition to expanding the RVP waiver to ethanol blends greater than E10, the legislation, authored by Paul and Grassley, aims to encourage manufacturers and producers to develop new technologies, and equalizes the tax between liquid natural gas and diesel fuel.

“It is time for the EPA to stop denying American consumers access to new fuels in the marketplace,” Blum said. “Choice and competition are an integral part of our free market system: consumers deserve the opportunity to choose clean, domestically produced fuel options, and producers and manufacturers should be allowed to innovate within the fuel sector to bring new products to consumers. This bill from Senators Paul and Grassley reduces unnecessary red tape while promoting competition, innovation, and fairness in the energy marketplace, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to move this measure forward.”

Paul added, "The EPA's onerous regulation of fuels is artificially limiting options for consumers and producers and preventing the adoption of new fuel options that could benefit our environment, our economy, and our energy security. Through competition and consumer choice, my bill will free fuel producers and automobile manufacturers to innovate and bring new products to market that can lower costs to consumers, increase domestic energy production, and benefit the environment. I am proud to stand with Rep. Rod Blum today as he introduces the House companion to the Fuel Choice and Deregulation Act.”

“Consumers appreciate having choices, whether it’s at the grocery store or the fuel pump,” Grassley said. “Those of us who live in biofuels-producing states like Iowa understand the appeal of cleaner, domestic, renewable fuels. The EPA should be consistent in the way it treats different fuel blends as a matter of fairness and to give consumers more options for fueling their vehicles. The EPA has never acted on its authority to grant a waiver for E15. A legislative fix will fill the void.  I’m glad to see Rep. Blum is taking the lead on the House companion to this common sense bill.  Between the E15 fix and other measures, this bill goes a long way toward clearing key regulatory hurdles while further encouraging the use of alternative fuels.”

Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, has spoken out in support of the legislation. “Iowa ethanol producers and consumers appreciate Rep. Blum taking the lead on this important issue,” he said. “There are several government impediments to fair market access for higher ethanol blends that restrict consumer choices at the pump.  The unfair regulatory treatment of E15 is one of the most important to address quickly.  We look forward to working with Rep. Blum to move this legislation forward.”

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, has also weighed in on the legislation. "We are pleased to see Congressmen Blum, Buck, Peterson and Young introduce legislation to remove the regulatory burden on E15 and allow retailers and consumers alike to sell and use E15 without unnecessary restriction,” he said. “It is imperative to have parity among fuels, so not only do consumers have a choice, but also free, unfettered access to the fuel of their choosing. By extending the RVP volatility waiver to E15, Congress can do just that. It is time to remove restrictive regulations that only penalize the use of cleaner burning, homegrown fuels that reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve our environment."

The National Corn Growers Association also supports the bill. “We thank Reps. Blum, Buck, Peterson, and Young for their leadership in the House to expand consumer choices at the pump and give people year-round access to clean, renewable fuel,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “Consumers should have year-round access to higher ethanol blends. This is the single largest regulatory hurdle standing in the way. We urge both the House and the Senate to step up, remove this hurdle, and expand consumer choice.”