By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rulemaking to allow gas stations around the country to sell E15 (gasoline that’s 15% ethanol) year-round. Previously, the EPA prohibited the sale of E15 between June 1 and September 15 due to fuel-volatility concerns that higher blends of ethanol combined with warmer temperatures may lead to increased ground-level ozone formation and smog. It is unclear if the EPA’s rulemaking will be implemented immediately since it will likely face court challenges.
The Renewable Fuels Association anticipates that E15 sales will increase from 300 million gallons in 2018 to 700 million gallons or more this year as a result of this rule. At present, roughly 1,800 gas stations sell E15, although this number is likely to increase as a result of the EPA’s actions. The EPA’s rulemaking is part of an effort to increase the availability of E15, as ethanol supporters maintain that few gas stations sell the fuel since E15 could only be legally sold for part of the year.
SEMA opposes this rulemaking and the expansion of the sale of E15. The EPA has turned to sales of E15 to achieve the Renewable Fuel Standard’s artificial mandates to blend large volumes of ethanol into gasoline sold in the United States. Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E15, can cause damage to high-performance parts and vehicles manufactured prior to 2001.
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