EPA Finalizes Rule on E15 and RIN Reform

Removing a barrier to year-round E15 sales gives retailers more flexibility in offering renewable fuels.

June 03, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Friday released its final rule to allow gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol (E15) to receive a year-round 1 psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver during the summer months. Before this final rule, E15 was not allowed to be sold in some regions of the United States from June 1 to September 15.

In addition to the RVP waiver for E15, EPA also made several changes to the Renewable Identification Number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The final rule requires public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed specified thresholds and additional collection of data to improve market transparency and enhance EPA oversight.

Upon initial review, NACS believes EPA’s action in removing a barrier to year-round sales of E15 is a positive step forward in providing retailers more flexibility in offering renewable fuels to consumers and supports EPA taking a careful and cautious approach to changes to the RIN market by focusing on disclosure and oversight of the compliance system.

In its comments on the proposal to the agency, NACS had cautioned EPA from making changes to the RIN market that would have injected significant uncertainty into the marketplace.

NACS joined with NATSO, the national association representing truckstops and travel plazas; and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) in commending EPA for finalizing only those aspects of its RIN Market Reform Proposal that enhance disclosure requirements.

The final rule sets aside certain proposals that would have reduced the incentives for fuel retailers who buy, sell and blend renewable fuels.

“We are still analyzing the rule, but at first glance we are pleased that EPA appears to have hit the sweet spot here by reasonably enhancing disclosure requirements without altering market participants’ behavior,” the trade associations said in a joint statement. “We appreciate that EPA chose not to promulgate unnecessary regulations that came with a high likelihood of unintended, counterproductive consequences.”

EPA initially had proposed a number of reforms that would have reduced the incentives for retailers to continue buying, blending and selling renewable fuels. In comments filed with EPA as part of the rulemaking process, the fuel retailing groups opposed those reforms, which would have disrupted the market. They did not object to the sale of E-15 year-round, nor did they oppose enhanced disclosure requirements.

The final rule goes into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

For question about EPA’s final rule, contact NACS Director of Government Relations Paige Anderson at panderson@convenience.org.