WASHINGTON—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially issued an emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 gasoline—gasoline that uses a 15% ethanol blend—to be sold beginning May 1 through the statutory maximum of 20 days, according to a news release.
The EPA will continue to monitor the supply with industry and federal partners, and the agency expects to issue new waivers effectively extending the emergency fuel waiver until “the extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances due to the war in Ukraine are no longer present.”
The announcement comes after the Biden Administration said it would temporarily allow high-ethanol content gasoline to be sold during the summer in an effort to curb high gas prices. E15 was originally set to be sold between June 1 and September 15.
“President Biden and this administration are committed to protecting American consumers from the impacts of Russia’s unprovoked attack against Ukraine,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Putin’s war has had a profound impact on global and domestic energy markets. In consultation with Secretary Granholm, I have concluded that it is necessary to take action to allow E15 sales during the summer driving season in order to minimize and prevent disruption of summertime fuel supply to consumers.”
The EPA said the move demonstrates the president's commitment to "protect Americans from supply crises by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, building real energy independence, supporting American agriculture and manufacturing and accelerating the transition to clean energy.
The agency is issuing the emergency waiver through the Clean Air Act, which allows the EPA administrator, in consultation with the Department of Energy, to temporarily waive certain fuel requirements to address shortages.
In roughly two-thirds of the country, E15 cannot be sold from terminals starting on May 1 and at retail stations starting on June 1. EPA is providing relief by extending the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that 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 (RFG) program.
“As reported previously, NACS sent a joint industry letter with NATSO and SIGMA asking for the EPA to use its waiver authority to allow for the sell of E15 this summer. “We applaud the EPA’s decision to issue an emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 to be sold this summer,” said Paige Anderson, NACS director government relations. “This waiver will provide flexibility for fuel retailers and allow them continue to provide E15 to their customers.”