Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly welcomed President Trump’s announcement today that he is directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow the year round sale of fuels with higher amounts of biofuel, including E15. Beginning in 2015, Donnelly has led the efforts in Congress to allow the year-round sale of fuels with higher amounts of ethanol. Most recently, in May 2018, Donnelly urged President Trump to reduce regulatory burdens around the blending of biofuels as one way to reduce the costs of fuel for consumers at the pump.
Donnelly said, “Biofuels are a critical component of an all-in energy strategy that benefits both Hoosier consumers and farmers. I’m glad that the President is acting on my bipartisan effort to allow year-round sale of higher-blend biofuels, including E15. Lifting the current Reid Vapor Pressure restrictions benefits farmers, families filling up at the pump, and businesses that rely on abundant and affordable American-grown energy.”
In May 2015, Senator Donnelly first introduced legislation that would allow the year-round sale of E15 and fuels with higher blends of ethanol and in March 2017, Donnelly, along with Agriculture Committee members Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reintroduced the legislation, named the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. Currently, the EPA has discordant limitations on the rate of evaporation for fuels blended with ethanol. Evaporation of fuels is measured by the EPA according to Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), and fuels containing 10 percent ethanol or less receive a 1-psi RVP waiver from EPA, but fuels above 10 percent ethanol do not. E15, however, usually evaporates slightly less quickly than most gasoline blends sold today, meaning there is likely a slight evaporative emissions benefit association with replacing a gallon of E10 with E15.
The legislation introduced by Senators Donnelly, Fischer, and Grassley would extend the RVP waiver to ethanol blends above 10 percent, creating a level playing field for all fuels blended with ethanol. This would allow retailers across the country to sell E15 and other higher-ethanol/gasoline fuel blends year-round, increasing market access opportunities for higher blends of ethanol and reducing the cost of fuels for consumers.