EPA Allows E15 Fuel Sales to July 20

Waiver to provide lower-priced biofuel option for drivers
GetGo convenience store
Photograph: Shutterstock

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday issued an emergency fuel waiver allowing E15 gasoline to be sold from July 1 to July 20.

Government regulations prohibit sales of the 15% ethanol blend during summer months in some areas due to concerns about ozone pollution, said Michael Regan, administrator of the EPA, in a letter to governors announcing the waiver.

Regan said a lack of adequate fuel supply stemming from the ongoing war in Ukraine led the agency to issue the waiver, its second waiver this year, and allow sales of E15 in areas without a Reformulated Gasoline Program. In April, the EPA issued a waiver allowing for sales of E15 from May 1 to May 20.

E15 is typically priced at least 16 cents per gallon lower than regular unleaded gasoline, but the savings can be as much as $1 a gallon at some fuel stations, according to biofuels producer POET.

Domestic and international sanctions on Russia have affected the availability of petroleum products, and OPEC’s decision in April to reduce crude oil output also has constrained the availability of petroleum, Regan said.

POET said research by the University of California Riverside contradicts allegations that E15 contributes to smog and instead indicate the biofuel reduces volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and particulates thought to lead to smog.

Fuel prices at some convenience stores and fuel stations will be discounted for the Fourth of July weekend, particularly for rewards members. GetGo Café + Market on Thursday said it was discounting the price of regular unleaded gasoline to $2.75 per gallon for myPerks Pay Direct and AdvantagePay rewards members.

 “We’re proud our stores can help facilitate Fourth of July plans, and this deep discount will allow our neighbors to spend less on fuel and focus more on celebrations with friends and family,” said Joel Hirschboeck, senior vice president of fuel at GetGo, a unit of Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle Co.

The national average per-gallon price of regular unleaded is expected to be about $3.49 for the Fourth of July weekend, about $1.20 lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy, a unit of PDI Technologies based in Alpharetta, Georgia. GasBuddy’s 2023 summer travel survey suggests about 36% of drivers are planning to take a road trip over the Fourth of July weekend, up 9% from last year.

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