To this point, RFA notes that EPA is ignoring well-documented evidence that E15 is safe for all light duty vehicles. RFA recently released a report from Ricardo, Inc. that used EPA’s own engineering assessment methodology to determine the efficacy of E15 in vehicles MY2000 and older. The report concluded, “…that the adoption and use of E15 in the motor vehicle fleet from the studied model years should not adversely affect the vehicles or cause them to perform in a sub-optimal manner when compared with their performance when using the E10 blend that is currently available.”


Wholesale adoption of E15 based upon EPA’s bifurcated approach is unlikely, according to gasoline marketers and retailers. In its weekly newsletter from Sept. 17, 2010, the Petroleum Marketers’ Association of America stated, “Limiting the waiver to a specific class of vehicles based on date of manufacture means retailers would be forced by market conditions to carry both E10 and E15 product, thus increasing the risk of consumer misfueling. The good news is that the waiver will likely not require E15 but only allow its use. Refiners are not expected to supply E15 as a result of the waiver approval alone.”


Dinneen scoffed at EPA’s implicit denial of other blends, including E12, which could be used in all vehicles and pumps immediately. “I find it hard to believe that there is not a level between E10 and E15 at which EPA could approve for use in all vehicles. An interim step to anything above E10 for all vehicles would have a more immediate impact on the market than today’s announcement.”


EPA’s announcement today does allow for the work on adjusting state fuel regulations to accommodate E15 to begin in earnest. To the extent that some retailers do offer E15, infrastructure issues can be addressed as well, including the Renewable Fuels Marketing Act, which RFA supports. Additionally, RFA will work with EPA and other stakeholders to assure the labels that will be issued are as clear and factual as possible, minimizing consumer confusion and backlash.


Read RFA’s analysis of possible E15 scenarios on its blog.