(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad, along with Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN), Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R-ND), Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R-SD), Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) Tuesday sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy asking the Obama Administration to remove a significant regulatory obstacle that is preventing large-scale availability and use of E15 and mid-level ethanol blends.
Branstad said, “Today, bi-partisan Governors from around the Midwest are joining together to strongly urge the EPA to act now to correct the unfair treatment for E15. EPA has the authority to resolve this regulatory hurdle to give more Americans the choice of a cleaner-burning, lower-cost, higher octane, renewable fuel and we hope they do so immediately.”
Currently, more than 300 fuel stations across the U.S. offer drivers the choice of E15, and that number is growing as a result of the USDA Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership and industry efforts such as “Prime the Pump.” However, the existing number of E15 stations is only a fraction of the more than 150,000 fuel stations nationwide. Fuel station owners consistently report that the greatest obstacle to offering E15 is the inequitable Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulation of E10 and E15. Unbalanced RVP treatment makes it extraordinarily difficult for retailers in a conventional fuel area to offer E15 year round as a registered fuel.
EPA’s disparate handling of E10 and E15 with regard to fuel volatility regulation is stifling the widespread adoption of E15 and mid-level ethanol blends. Today, E10 receives a 1 pound-force per square inch (psi) RVP waiver during the summer blending season (from June 1 to September 15 each year), while E15 does not receive a 1 psi summertime RVP waiver. This inequitable RVP treatment of E10 and E15 has no scientific basis since E15 and higher blends are lower in volatility than E10 when blended with the same base gasoline. Gov. Branstad and 6 other Midwestern Governors are strongly urging EPA to take immediate action to establish a volatility regime that allows a uniform gasoline blendstock to be suitable for blending both E10 and E15 year round.
To read the full letter, please click here.