The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the health effects testing on E15 fuel. The acceptance of the health effects testing clears the way for the final steps in registering E15 as a fuel and offering it in the marketplace.

Under the Clean Air Act and EPA regulations manufacturers of gasoline, diesel fuels and fuel additives produced and distributed for use in highway motor vehicles must register their gasoline and diesel fuels and fuel additives with EPA. The health effects testing is a required step in the approval of any new fuel or fuel additive.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy submitted the testing protocol. EPA concluded, “Our evaluation therefore concludes that RFA/Growth Energy has submitted data and analysis that would satisfy the Tier 1 and Tier 2 testing requirements for registration.”

With EPA’s acceptance of the test results, ethanol and E15 suppliers are now able to register with EPA to offer the fuel. “This is not the green light for E15 sales yet, but the health effects testing is a significant milestone to have passed,” say RFA officials.

Commercial expansion of E15 could come in time for “the expensive summer driving season,” says Bob Dinneen, RFA president and chief executive officer. “Increasing America’s use of homegrown ethanol will create jobs, reduce harmful tailpipe emissions and make this nation more energy secure. This is huge step toward meaningful market expansion for domestically produced ethanol.”

“American consumers deserve a choice at the pump.” Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president, said in support of EPA’s decision. “E15 is a home-grown fuel that saves consumers money and helps wean us off of our addiction to foreign oil.” According to Growth Energy, the average price of a gallon of E15 is 76 cents cheaper than a gallon of gasoline.   

Another step that still needs to be addressed, RFA points out, is a misfueling mitigation plan. As the E15 waiver extends only to Model Year 2001 and newer vehicles, and excludes numerous non-road, marine and vehicle engines, helping ensure consumers are legally and appropriately using E15 is critical.

RFA has submitted a misfueling mitigation plan to EPA that would serve as a model plan that fuel retailers must follow to comply with EPA regulations. Once the plan is completed, and companies register with EPA, E15 can be sold to the EPA-approved vehicles.

“The RFA is leading an effort to ensure state fuel regulations allow for the sale of E15 and that retailers and consumers are properly using the fuel,” RFA officials point out.  

Complete information on the E15 waiver, including final steps left take, is available here.

Source: RFA