EPA approves first E15 applications

By Stewart Doan

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WASHINGTON, April 2 -The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has approved the first applications for registration of ethanol for use in making gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol - known as E15.

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Registration of ethanol to make E15 is “a significant step” toward its production, sale, and use in model year 2001 and newer gasoline-fueled cars and light trucks, EPA said.


Ethanol trade groups agreed.


"This announcement strengthens the ethanol industry's efforts to innovate and continue to deliver domestically-produced and affordable alternatives to foreign oil," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. "With ethanol selling an average of a dollar a gallon cheaper than gasoline and $4 a gallon gasoline on the horizon, we'd encourage all Americans to ask their local filling station how soon they will see more-affordable E15."


Before it can be sold to consumers, manufacturers must first take additional measures to help ensure retail stations and other gasoline distributors understand and implement labeling rules and other E15-related requirements.


“States in the Midwest have begun to address their regulatory requirements and perhaps as early as summer we could see E15 at fuels stations in the Heartland of America,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.  “The future for consumers, ethanol producers and this country has just gotten a little brighter, a little stronger."


Gas pumps dispensing the mid-level ethanol blend will be clearly labeled so consumers can make the right choice, EPA emphasized.


To enable widespread use of E15, the Obama Administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next 5 years.  In addition, the Departments of Agriculture and Energy have provided grants, loans and loan guarantees to companies working to develop and commercialize ethanol derived from non-food feedstocks. 


Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack offered his support for the announcement in a statement.


"These first approvals are a clear indication that fuel producers understand that America's motorists want a choice when they fill their gas tanks,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “The industry also knows that higher biofuel blends are good for their bottom line, will support rural economies, and hold down fuel costs overall while giving consumers greater access  to renewable, homegrown fuel."




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