The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is missing an opportunity to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and create new economic opportunity by limiting its decision on E15 (15% ethanol/85% gasoline) to only model year (MY) 2007 and newer vehicles, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said today.


“EPA’s scientifically unjustified bifurcation of the U.S. car market will do little to move the needle and expand ethanol use today,” says RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Limiting E15 use to 2007 and newer vehicles only creates confusion for retailers and consumers alike. America’s ethanol producers are hitting an artificial blend wall today. The goals of Congress to reduce our addiction to oil captured in the Renewable Fuels Standard cannot be met with this decision.”


Dinneen highlighted the importance of an expanded market to next-generation technologies, saying, “This decision continues to leave the market artificially constrained and further limits market opportunities for next-generation biofuels very close to commercialization. While we appreciate the work put into this waiver request, especially the two-plus years of testing by the Department of Energy, it is clear EPA is missing an opportunity to meaningfully increase America’s use of renewable fuels and reduce our dependence on imported oil.”


Dinneen also pointed out the apparent legal and scientific disconnect inherent in EPA’s outright denial for MY2000 and older vehicles. “EPA is providing no scientific justification for its decision to bifurcate the market. It’s almost as though they pulled the number out of a hat. As test after test has demonstrated, E15 is safe and effective in all light-duty vehicles. ” Dinneen noted that on Jan. 1, 2011, vehicles MY2000 and older will all be out of warranty coverage and beyond their useful lives, thus putting them beyond the regulation of EPA. “EPA’s overreach to deny E15 for use in vehicles over which they no longer have jurisdiction is beyond puzzling.”