Iowa, Kansas petition EPA to issue emergency waiver for E15

By Erin Voegele | April 05, 2022

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on April 4 sent a letter to U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan asking the agency to use its emergency waiver authority to allow E15 sales during the summer 2022 driving season.

The letter asks Regan to exercise the EPA’s emergency waiver authority under Section 211(c)(4)(C)(ii) of the Clean Air Act to waive the 9 pound per square inch (psi) Red vapor pressure (RVP) limitation for E15 for the 2022 summer ozone control season, which starts June 1 and concludes on Sept. 15.

“Doing so will give the citizens of our states relief from the volatile and record-high gas prices, including price increases caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” they wrote. “It is within the EPA’s statutory authority to issue such an emergency waiver. And issuing the waiver would result in both lower pump prices and lower overall tailpipe emissions. E15 retail prices are currently significantly below the prices for E10 or gas without ethanol. And E15 has lower emissions than E10, which is allowed a 1-pound per square inch (psi) RVP waiver.”

The U.S. EPA first granted a partial waiver allowing E15 to be used in model year (MY) 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles in 2010. The agency expanded that waiver to include MY 2001 and newer vehicles the following year. The fuel blend, however, could not be sold in most markets during the summer driving season. A June 2019 rulemaking changed that, extending the 9-psi RVP waiver to E15 and allowing the fuel to be sold during the summer driving season. The EPA’s rule was challenged by oil groups and in June 2021 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the portion of the June 2019 related to E15, overturning the ability for fuel retailer sell the fuel blend year-round. The emergency waiver requested by Miller and Schmidt would again allow E15 to be sold during the summer driving season.