EPA Issues Emergency Fuel Waiver for E15 Sales

Action will provide relief at the pump from ongoing market supply issues created by the war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East, agency says
ethanol e15
Photograph: Shutterstock

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today is issuing an emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 gasoline to be sold during the summer driving season. E15 is gasoline blended with 15% ethanol.

This action will provide communities with relief at the pump from ongoing market supply issues created by the ongoing war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East by increasing fuel supply and offering a variety of gasoline fuel blends from which consumers can choose, the agency said. This waiver will help consumers protect themselves against fuel supply “shocks” by reducing U.S. reliance on imported fossil fuels, continuing to bolster U.S. energy independence, while supporting American agriculture and manufacturing, it added.

Current EPA estimates indicate that on average, E15 is about 25 cents a gallon cheaper than E10. 

Currently, in approximately two-thirds of the country, E15 cannot be sold from terminals starting on May 1 and at retail stations starting on June 1. The EPA is providing relief by extending the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 gasoline to E15, which will enable E15 sales throughout the summer driving season in these areas, if necessary. This action only extends the 1-psi waiver to E15 in parts of the country where it already exists for E10.

E15 can already be sold year-round in parts of the country that have a reformulated gasoline program.

  • Click here to read CSP's The Future of Fuels 2024.

Because the RVP of E10 and E15 gasoline used by consumers will be the same, the EPA said it does not expect any effect on air quality from this limited action. The EPA’s research has shown no significant impact on evaporative emissions when the 1-psi waiver is extended to E15. With no significant impacts on emissions from cars and trucks, the EPA expects consumers can continue to use E15 without concern that its use in the summer will impact air quality. 

The EPA’s emergency fuel waiver will go into effect on May 1 when terminal operators would otherwise no longer be able to sell E15 in the affected regions of the country and will last through May 20 which is the statutory maximum of 20 days. The EPA will continue to monitor the supply with industry and federal partners, and the agency said it expects to issue new waivers effectively extending the emergency fuel waiver until such time as the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East are no longer present.

“EPA is taking action to protect Americans from fuel supply challenges resulting from ongoing conflict overseas by ensuring consumers have more choices at the pump,” said Administrator Michael Regan. “Allowing E15 sales during the summer driving season will increase fuel supply, while supporting American farmers, strengthening our nation’s energy security, and providing relief to drivers across the country.”

The Clean Air Act allows the EPA administrator, in consultation with the Department of Energy (DOE), to temporarily waive certain fuel requirements to address shortages. As a result of ongoing issues with gasoline supplies, Regan determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and has granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate supply of gasoline is available.

As required by the Clean Air Act, the EPA and the DOE evaluated the situation and determined that granting the waiver was in the public interest, they said.

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