e10 ethanol signA little number on your friendly local gas station pump might be about to change. Instead of 10 percent (E10), America's national gasoline supply can now contain up to 15 percent ethanol blended in (E15), following an announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency today. The caveat, for now, is that this fuel is only to be used in cars built since 2007.

So, that means that there could easily be five liquid fuels at a single gas station: ethanol-free gasoline, E10, E15, E85 and diesel – and this isn't counting different octane blends of "standard" gas. The EPA says there will be a new sticker for the E15 pumps to mitigate "misfueling conditions." It also means that some gas station owners are saying they're not too interested in adding E15 pumps right now. USA Today says it is likely the EPA will approve E15 for older vehicles after more tests are conducted this month. The USDA – which cares because so much domestically grown corn is used to make the ethanol – and the ethanol industry support the EPA's decision. The CEO of ethanol company Poet, Jeff Broin, said in a statement that:
The arguments being made right now against E15 are the same as those made about E10 back in the late 1980s, when I entered the ethanol industry. Seventy billion gallons later, we have proven those arguments false, just as research on E15 is proving critics wrong today.
For the past 18 months or so, the E10/E15 story has been hard-fought, with supporters for the increased biofuel content will be fine in most any vehicles on the road today and opponents saying there needs to be more testing because of warranty concerns. The Renewable Fuels Association took a particularly strong stand.

[Source: USA Today, EPA, USDA]


PRESS RELEASE

EPA Grants E15 Waiver for Newer Vehicles


A new label for E15 is being proposed to help ensure consumers use the correct fuel

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today waived a limitation on selling fuel that is more than 10 percent ethanol for model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. The waiver applies to fuel that contains up to 15 percent ethanol – known as E15 – and only to model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. This represents the first of a number of actions that are needed from federal, state and industry towards commercialization of E15 gasoline blends. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson made the decision after a review of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) extensive testing and other available data on E15's impact on engine durability and emissions.

"Thorough testing has now shown that E15 does not harm emissions control equipment in newer cars and light trucks," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Wherever sound science and the law support steps to allow more home-grown fuels in America's vehicles, this administration takes those steps."

A decision on the use of E15 in model year 2001 to 2006 vehicles will be made after EPA receives the results of additional DOE testing, which is expected to be completed in November. However, no waiver is being granted this year for E15 use in model year 2000 and older cars and light trucks – or in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines – because currently there is not testing data to support such a waiver. Since 1979, up to 10 percent ethanol or E10 has been used for all conventional cars and light trucks, and non-road vehicles.

Additionally, several steps are being taken to help consumers easily identify the correct fuel for their vehicles and equipment. First, EPA is proposing E15 pump labeling requirements, including a requirement that the fuel industry specify the ethanol content of gasoline sold to retailers. There would also be a quarterly survey of retail stations to help ensure their gas pumps are properly labeled.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandated an increase in the overall volume of renewable fuels into the marketplace reaching a 36 billion gallon total in 2022. Ethanol is considered a renewable fuel because it is produced from plant products or wastes and not from fossil fuels. Ethanol is blended with gasoline for use in most areas across the country.

The E15 petition was submitted to EPA by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers in March 2009. In April 2009, EPA sought public comment on the petition and received about 78,000 comments.

The petition was submitted under a Clean Air Act provision that allows EPA to waive the act's prohibition against the sale of a significantly altered fuel if the petitioner shows that the new fuel will not cause or contribute to the failure of the engine parts that ensure compliance with the act's emissions limits.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/additive/e15/


Statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Concerning the Environmental Protection Agency's Decision on E15

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 2010 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to allow the use of fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol in late-model cars and light trucks:

"Today's announcement from EPA is an important step toward making America more energy independent and creating much-needed jobs in rural America. The announcement will help get existing ethanol capacity into the market.

Increasing the use of ethanol in automobiles and light trucks not only provides biomass and biofuel producers with additional revenue enhancing opportunities, it will help us reach the Obama Administration's goal of increasing renewable fuels usage in the U.S. marketplace to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Today's action by Administrator Jackson and the EPA provides assurance to farmers, ranchers and the renewable fuels industry that the government backs the use of home grown energy in our cars and trucks. At the same time, more work is needed and we hope EPA and the Department of Energy complete an evaluation of 2001-2006 models soon."

On Thursday, October 21, Secretary Vilsack will discuss the progress USDA and other federal agencies are making toward achieving the 36 billion gallon biofuel production goal mandated by the Renewable Fuels Standard and new efforts by the Obama administration to bolster the industry and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Other topics of the address will include ensuring that infrastructure is in place to ease the production and use of domestically produced renewable transportation fuel, as well as the administration's strategy to foster renewable energy nationwide
.

POET CEO comments on E15 approval

Broin: EPA decision a 'positive first step toward opening the market'

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Oct. 13, 2010) – Following the EPA's decision today to allow drivers the option to use 15 percent ethanol blends in 2007 and newer vehicles, POET CEO Jeff Broin issued the following statement:

"Approval of E15 in 2007 and newer vehicles is a positive first step toward opening the market for more ethanol to compete with gasoline. However, the EPA must move quickly to take the next step: approval of E15 for use in older vehicles.

"The arguments being made right now against E15 are the same as those made about E10 back in the late 1980s, when I entered the ethanol industry. Seventy billion gallons later, we have proven those arguments false, just as research on E15 is proving critics wrong today.

"Greater market access will help give investors the needed confidence to commit to bringing cellulosic ethanol to commercial scale. Many projects, POET's Project LIBERTY among them, are ready for commercialization but hindered by unnecessary limits on ethanol content in fuel."

About POET

POET, the largest ethanol producer in the world, is a leader in biorefining through its efficient, vertically integrated approach to production. The 22-year-old company produces more than 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol and 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed annually from 26 production facilities nationwide. POET also operates a pilot-scale cellulosic ethanol plant, which uses corn cobs as feedstock, and will commercialize the process in Emmetsburg, Iowa. For more information, visit http://www.poet.com
.