Bipartisan senators seek to expand market for biofuels
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. The bill would extend the Reid vapor pressure (RVP) waiver to ethanol blends above 10 percent. This would increase market access opportunities for higher blends of ethanol. It would allow retailers across the country to sell E15 and other higher-ethanol/gasoline fuel blends year-round, increasing regulatory certainty and eliminating confusion at the pump.
“As one of America’s largest producers of ethanol, Nebraska can provide renewable solutions for our nation’s energy needs. The bipartisan legislation we are introducing today would expand fuel options for consumers and remove regulatory burdens that limit the use of E15. It would also ensure a fair playing field for higher ethanol blends, expanding fuel choices and strengthening our energy diversity,” said Senator Fischer.
“Biofuels give consumers more options and reduce fuel prices at the gas pump. This legislation would expand the market for ethanol producers, opening more market opportunities for fuels grown on Hoosier farms. I am proud to join my colleague Senator Fischer, along with Senator Grassley, in a bipartisan effort to eliminate the senseless restriction on ethanol producers and consumers,” said Senator Donnelly.
“Consumers appreciate having choices, whether it’s at the grocery store or the fuel pump,” Senator Grassley said. “Those of us who live in biofuels-producing states understand the appeal of cleaner, domestic, renewable fuels. The EPA should be consistent in the way it treats different fuel blends as a matter of fairness and to give consumers more options for fueling their vehicles. The EPA has never acted on its authority to grant a Reid vapor pressure waiver for E15. This bill proposes a legislative fix to fill the void.”
Each year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates RVP for gasoline and gasoline-ethanol blended from June 1 until September 15. During these months, when many travelers are on the road, the EPA restricts the retail sale of fuels with ethanol above 10 percent. Only higher blends that go through extra and more costly refining may be sold to consumers during this time.
Furthermore, retailers are forced to change fuels or labeling during the summer fueling season. This is why retailers often choose not to sell higher ethanol blends, such as E15, since they can only sell these products mid-September until May. The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act would allow retailers to sell E15 all year long without going through the costly approval process.
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