American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers CEO Chet Thompson today issued the following statement on the Biden administration’s announcement that it plans to invoke emergency waiver authority under the Clean Air Act to allow for the incremental sale of E15 fuel this summer.
“We are right there with the Biden administration on wanting to see relief for consumers at the pump, but this action will not solve the problem. To stabilize gasoline prices, protect union jobs and strengthen U.S. energy security for the long term, we encourage President Biden to focus on domestic energy production and reforms to policies like the RFS that needlessly make it more expensive to manufacture gasoline and diesel for drivers here in the United States.”
E15 fuel is gasoline that has been blended to contain 15 percent ethanol. By comparison, the typical regular unleaded gasoline most drivers use contains 10 percent ethanol. The Clean Air Act requires the use of special gasoline blends in the summer by limiting the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of fuel. RVP is the measure of a fuel’s volatility, and thus its potential to produce evaporative emissions. Due to these restrictions, E15 cannot be sold in certain regions during the summer.
EPA has the authority to issue emergency waivers of summertime gasoline specifications in narrow instances where there is an acute geographic supply challenge, such as a fuel disruption from a hurricane or other severe weather event. The goal of these waivers is to allow refiners and blenders to utilize more blending components in order to stretch gasoline supplies for a short period of time. In the current instance, however, the specific criteria for EPA’s use of waiver authority do not appear to have been met.
Of the nearly 150,000 retail gasoline stations in the United States, fewer than two percent offer E15 at any point during the year. Stations must have specific E15 compatible fuel tanks and pumps in order to offer the fuel and most do not have this infrastructure.
The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) is the leading trade association representing the makers of the fuels that keep us moving, the petrochemicals that are the essential building blocks for modern life, and the midstream companies that get our feedstocks and products where they need to go. We make the products that make life better, safer and more sustainable — we make progress.