As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waived regulations on gasoline and diesel for areas of Texas and Louisiana affected by Tropical Storm Harvey, a biofuels industry group asked it to relax Reid vapor pressure (Rvp) requirements for finished gasoline through Sept. 15, which would enable retailers to sell E15, the 15% ethanol blend. The aim would be to increase potential supply and ease any shortages in areas affected by Tropical Storm Harvey.
“Ethanol is priced roughly 20 cents per gallon below gasoline blendstock today, and supplies are ample in all regions of the country,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Washington, D.C., which sent the letter to EPA head Scott Pruitt on Aug. 28. “We are simply asking EPA to take action that would allow gasoline blenders to maximize their use of low-cost, locally available ethanol supplies to help alleviate gas price spikes resulting from Hurricane Harvey.
“In effect, we are requesting that EPA end the summer Rvp control season a few weeks early so that ethanol can more effectively help with the current fuel supply emergency,” he said.
On Aug. 30, the EPA waived reformulated and low-volatility gasoline requirements through Sept. 15 for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana and the District of Columbia. This would appear to end summer volatility regulations early, and open the door to the use of winter-formulated gasoline in conventional gasoline areas, Dinneen told DTN.
"This allows for the sale of E15 in those conventional gasoline areas of the states covered by the waiver and is effectively what we asked of the agency on Monday,” Dinneen said.