October 13, 2010

So the EPA has spoken and the E15 waiver is D.O.A. According to the E15 waiver comments of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association the EPA does not have the legal authority to grant a partial waiver, it can only grant a waiver for all cars or deny the waiver. The NPRA stated in their waiver comments, “EPA raises in the Waiver Notice the possibility of conditionally approving the use of E15 or lesser mid-level blends only for a limited subset of vehicles. 74 Fed. Reg. 18,230. If EPA were to develop such a “bifurcated fuels” program pursuant to a partial E15 waiver, the Agency would be at risk for a CAA section 307 judicial challenge alleging that the Agency’s interpretation of section 211(f)(4) is unreasonable and exceeds the Agency’s authority.”

Since the EPA E15 waiver is permissive, that is it isn’t a mandatory E15 law, nobody has to make E15 and the gasoline producers were pretty much unanimous in their E15 waiver comments that they weren’t going to make a product with such high liability for damage without the government passing liability legislation holding them and their dealers harmless. In addition there are no new cars built from 2007 until today that have warranty coverage for E15, so who is going to pump a product into their gas tank that will void their warranty, cut their mileage and costs more than E10 does, because today ethanol is more expensive than gasoline … again!

It isn’t going to prevent, or even delay, the blending wall.  The funniest thing is that it can’t be sold in most states without state law changes, including California. So why all the fuss?

Footnote:  Even the Renewable Fuels Association agrees that E15 cannot be put in non flex-fuel vehicles any time soon, “Until health effects testing is completed, fuel producers have a 211(b) certification from EPA, certain state fuel regulations amended, and EPA’s misfueling and labeling proposed regulation finalized, E-15 must be confined to and labeled specifically for flexible fuel vehicles only,” explained the two groups in a joint release.”



  1. VEETC has expired but will remain posted until the federal tax filing deadline. What does that mean?? What are these people up to??

    Are Grassley and the usual suspects brewing up another earmark??

    • John – I am not aware of any further congressional attempts at throwing tax payers money at ethanol, other than some subsidies to support research for cellulosic ethanol. It would be difficult to create any new subsidies in the current economic climate and huge deficits. Now that we are reaching the blending wall, it will become apparent how bad the debacle will be, once ethanol free gasoline disappears. If public safety can’t get ethanol free gasoline, people will die when equipment craps out or doesn’t start, it has begun to happen. The other problem will be what to do with the enormous amounts of ethanol that are mandated, with nowhere to put them, E15 will not happen. Even if cellulosic ethanol is never produced, by 2015 the mandate requires 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol be blended but we only need about 13.5 billion gallons to swamp the gasoline pool, especially now that gasoline demand is once again declining as the economy collapses. A few people are beginning to discuss the repeal of the RFS mandated in EISA 2007, which is the only realistic solution.

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