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Farm, biofuel groups ask EPA to resolve summertime E15 barrier

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To improve air quality and remove arcane barriers to innovation and consumer choice in the retail fuel marketplace, six national farm and biofuel organizations have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enact regulations requiring lower-volatility conventional gasoline blendstock in the summertime. This would result in lower tailpipe and evaporative emissions during the summer ozone control season and improve air quality.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the Renewable Fuels Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and National Sorghum Producers said reducing the volatility of gasoline by just 1 pound per square inch (psi) would yield significant environmental benefits.

Regarding air quality, the six organizations referenced and attached a new study using EPA modeling tools, showing that reducing the vapor pressure of conventional gasoline blendstock by 1 psi “…would be beneficial to air quality, as emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) would be reduced.” The study further concluded that “if the elimination of the 1-psi waiver [for E10] leads to the replacement of E10 with E15, it will also decrease greenhouse gases and particulate emissions.”

The organizations also wrote that the move would “simplify engineering of emissions control systems and help facilitate compliance with Renewable Fuel Standard requirements, with no noticeable impact on fuel costs.” They attached a new economic study showing that lowering the volatility of gasoline blendstock would impact the cost of the fuel by just 1-2 pennies per gallon.

In addition, the regulatory strategy suggested in the letter would address the Nov. 3 request from seven Midwest governors for EPA’s help to secure state-level regulatory approaches to allow the E15 blend to be made available year-round. “The approach we suggest here would be similar to that contemplated by the Governors, but rather than a state-by-state solution, the proposed regulatory fix would be nationally applicable.”

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