EPA opens comment period on fuels regulatory streamlining rule

By Erin Voegele | May 14, 2020

The U.S. EPA on May 14 officially opened the public comment period on its recently announced proposed rule to streamline and modernize its existing fuels regulations. Comments must be received by June 29.  

The EPA released a prepublication version of the proposed rule on April 13. In the rulemaking, the EPA said it is proposing “some slight modifications to the Renewable Fuel Standard,” but indicated it does not plan to make substantive changes to the RFS as part of this rulemaking.

A fact sheet published by the EPA explains the rulemaking proposes to “update the agency’s existing gasoline, diesel and other fuels programs in 40 CFR part 80 to improve overall compliance assurance and maintain environmental performance, while reducing compliance costs for industry and EPA.”

According to the EPA, the rulemaking would streamline existing fuel quality regulations by removing expired provisions, eliminating redundant compliance provisions, such as duplicative registration requirements that are required by every EPA fuels program, and remove unnecessary and out-of-date requirements. These regulations would be replaced with a single set of provisions and definitions in a new 40 CFR part 1090 that would apply across all gasoline, diesel and other fuel quality programs currently regulated under 40 CFR part 80, with the exception of the RFS. The EPA said the rulemaking does not propose to change the stringency of the existing fuel quality standards, nor does it propose any new standards on fuels or remove any statutory requirement for fuels specified in the Clean Air Act.

The fact sheet outlines three key elements that are to be included in part 1090. First, the updated regulations would simplify the reformulated gasoline (RFG) summer volatile organic compound (VOC) standards. Second, the regulations would consolidate the regulatory requirements across the part 80 fuel quality programs. Third, the regulations would improve oversight through the leveraging of third parties to ensure in-use fuel quality.

The EPA said comments must be received on or before June 29. The EPA said comments on information collection provisions of the rule are best assured of consideration if the White House Office of Management and Budget receives a copy by June 15.

 EPA plans to hold a hearing on the proposed rule. The agency said it will announce the date and location of the hearing in a supplemental Federal Register document.

Additional information is available on the Federal Register website.