Ethanol groups continue support for RVP bill to expand E15 sales

By Erin Voegele | July 21, 2017

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has decided not to consider the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, S. 517, before August recess. The bill aims to extend the 1 pound per square inch (psi) Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to gasoline blends with more than 10 percent ethanol.

Growth Energy has expressed disappointment in the committee’s decision. “We are disappointed the Environment and Public Works committee decided not to consider the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517) before August recess,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “We will continue to work with our bipartisan sponsors to enact this bill to provide drivers across the country cleaner fuel options year-round that are better for the environment and save Americans money every time they fill up the gas tank.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol is asking its members to continue to advocate for the bill. “ACE members appreciate the leadership of Senators Fischer, R-Neb., and Donnelly, D-Ind., for spearheading bipartisan legislation to extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) relief to E15 and higher ethanol blends, and we won’t give up in the face of obstruction from opponents in the Environment and Public Works Committee,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE. “As senators return to their home states during the upcoming August recess, we encourage ACE members press them on the need to whip up enough bipartisan support to eventually enact this legislation.  Meanwhile, ACE also continues to urge EPA Administrator Pruitt to grant RVP relief as the Trump administration takes steps to reduce regulatory burdens on American businesses.”

ACE members can utilize its Legislative Action Center if they have a Senator on the EPW Committee to encourage them to support the enactment of S. 517.

On July 20, a group of biofuel companies and trade groups sent a letter to leaders of the committee, asking them to support S. 517. In the letter, the groups stress the legislation is vital to the advanced biofuels industry.

“Cellulosic ethanol technology has matured to the point of being commercial ready,” wrote the groups in the letter. “Our greatest challenge now is market access. This simple fix to Reid vapor pressure (RVP) regulations will allow higher ethanol blends to be sold in non-reformulated gasoline (RFG) regions year-round, which in turn will send a strong growth signal to investors in advanced and cellulosic biofuels.”

The letter also discourages the senators to reject any efforts to attach amendments related to the Renewable Fuel Standard, even those intended to help advanced or cellulosic fuels. “Opening the RFS to legislative change will destabilize investment and make it harder for cellulosic and advanced biofuels to thrive,” said the groups in the letter. “Importantly, the current proposal does not change U.S. motor fuel policy – it merely clarifies that an RVP waiver already offered to 10 percent ethanol blends is available for higher ethanol blends (because they are cleaner). As stated, S. 517 is already good for cellulosic biofuels. We believe amendments will only convolute the premise of the bill as a regulatory fix and undercut its chances for passage.”

The letter is signed by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Aemetis, Biocom, Bio Nebraska, Cellerate, the California Life Sciences Association, Delaware Bio, DSM, Edeniq, Enerkem, Enogen, ICM, the Iowa Biotech Association, Lallemand Biofuels and Distilled Spirits, Mascoma, Novozymes, Pacific Ethanol, Phytonix, Poet, Poet-DSM, Quad County Corn Processors, Renmatix, South Dakota Biotech, Sweetwater Energy, and Syngenta.