New York publishes proposed rule to allow E15 sales

By Erin Voegele | July 24, 2019

The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets published a proposed rule July 24 to allow E15 sales within the state. The move will soon open the nation’s fourth largest gasoline market to sales of the fuel blend.

The rulemaking comes nearly a nine years after the U.S. EPA first issued a waiver allowing E15 to be used as fuel in certain vehicles and less than two months after the agency took action to allow E15 to be sold year-round. E15 can currently be used to fuel model year 2001 and newer vehicles.

The rulemaking marks the second effort New York has made to allow sales of E15. A proposed rule issued by the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets in August 2016 was withdrawn the following month. In a notice posted to the New York State Register Sept. 21, 2016, the department said the proposed rule was withdrawn because “several objections were received to the express terms of the proposed rule.”

The new proposed rule published by the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets aims to update the state’s fuel regulations to allow the sale of E15. A 60-day public comment period on the proposal opened July 24.

Chris Bliley, vice president of regulatory affairs at Growth Energy, has expressed confidence that the rulemaking could be finalized by the end of the year.

According to Bliley, Growth Energy has been engaged in the process to open the New York market to E15 for the past five years, working with government agencies, local consultants and New York-based ethanol producer Western New York Energy.

“We’ve had lots of good discussions with the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets,” Bliley said, noting the department held stakeholder meetings earlier this year that Growth Energy participated in. The trade group has also had discussions with other state agencies that had questions and wanted to better understand ethanol and E15, he said.

“It’s been a really long effort, but we are certainly pleased to see [the state] move forward with the proposed rulemaking, and now look forward to its adoption,” Bliley continued.

Bliley said the proposed rulemaking sends a strong signal to New York fuel retailers that they will soon be able to sell E15. The state represents the nation’s fourth largest gasoline market, with annual consumption of approximately 5.7 billion gallons of gasoline, he said. For E10, that volume of gasoline consumption translates into approximately 570 million gallons of ethanol demand. Bliley said that if the whole state moved to E15, that would represent demand for about another 285 million gallons of ethanol, roughly equivalent to 100 million bushels of additional corn.

While other states in the Northeast don’t have the same outright restrictions on E15 that New York does, New York’s action to allow E15 sales could help increase demand for the fuel within the region. “What we’ve certain in other states and locations is that once you have one or two marketers installing the fuel, it certainly puts competitive pressure on others in the area to start offering it as well,” Bliley said.

Moving forward, Bliley said Growth Energy will be filing comments in support of the proposed rule. “I know others will be weighing in with strong support as well,” he said, stressing that New York’s action to allow the fuel is exciting for Growth Energy.

A full copy of the proposed rule is available on New York State Register website.