After quite some time and several delays it appears that E15 ethanol is nearing the finish line to being available commercially. The Renewable Fuels Association held a media call on Monday to review where they are in the process. RFA President Bob Dinneen says real progress is being made with the Environmental Protection Agency after the continued delays.
"EPA first granted the waiver for 2007 and newer vehicles in October 2010 and the following January they provided for 2001 and newer vehicles," Dineen said. "That opened the market to roughly 50% of the vehicles and 60% of the fuel sold as a consequence of that action."
However last summer EPA continued their regulatory efforts and proposed several measures, but in February they approved health affect testing that had been submitted thus triggering fuel registrations. Last week EPA approved the Misfueling Mitigation Plan that the RFA had submitted that refiners, gasoline marketers and ethanol producers will have to abide by in order to sell E15.
"With the approval of the Misfueling Mitigation Plan EPA's role in the commercialization of E15 is largely complete," Dinneen said. "Save for approving registrations for ethanol producers, gasoline marketers and others throughout the distribution chain."
Dinneen says those registrations won't take long, that essentially it is just a notice and that the job really falls now to the industry. Educating retailers and others about what needs to be done will be a big part of it. To that end a E15 handbook has been developed and already 13,000 have been placed in the hands of potential E15 retailers.
"Gasoline marketers are going to have to make sure they have appropriate feedstock available and check their equipment, but we believe they can then begin marketing E15 to those consumers who want to use it," Dinneen said. "Given the concern today of skyrocketing gasoline prices, with ethanol being a dollar cheaper than gasoline, any gasoline marketer wanting to utilize E15 is going to be able to offer that product less expensively than any other fuel."
To listen to the RFA conference call use the audio player on this page.