Fall fuel change brings new opportunities for E15

By Renewable Fuels Association | September 13, 2012

Sept. 15 marks the expiration date for the U.S. EPA’s summer volatility restriction for gasolines. The EPA’s prior E15 approval included a summer vapor pressure restriction to 9 psi, creating the need for a specialty blendstock for 15 percent ethanol blending which was more expensive and only available in limited areas.  EPA required this E15 vapor pressure restriction from June 1 to September 15. Only one retailer in Kansas, Zarco 66, was able to secure this low reid vapor pressure (RVP) gasoline from a State Implementation Plan (SIP) area of Kansas City, and thus able offer E15 during the summer in Lawrence, Kan., and Ottawa, Kan.  

“This should speed the rollout of E15 in states like Kansas, Illinois, Iowa and others because the final barrier in many states will disappear,” stated Robert White, director of market development for the Renewable Fuels Association. “Retailers now have the opportunity to bring yet another choice to all drivers of 2001 and newer light duty cars, trucks and SUVs, along with all flex-fuel vehicles.”

“The first two stations in Kansas to offer E15 have shown that consumers quickly embrace this new choice,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA’s president and CEO. “Overnight, sales of E15 at these stations constituted more than 20 percent of all unleaded sales, proving that consumers are looking for options beyond fossil fuels alone.”

Retailers that are interested in offering E15 should take these few steps in preparation of offering E15:

-          Review retail fueling equipment and fuel supply for E15 suitability.

-          Submit a request to the EPA to adopt RFA’s model Misfueling Mitigation Plan.

-           Join a fuel survey program like the RFA supported RFGSA E15 fuel survey program.

-          Use the EPA’s E15 dispenser label.

-          Notify state regulatory officials and branding company, when necessary, of the interest in the new fuel.

These steps are outlined in detail in the Renewable Fuels Association’s E15 Retailer Handbook, which is a step-by-step guide.