On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, the Biden Administration delayed a decision on allowing the year-round sale of E15 in certain Midwest states until the 2024 summer season. The decision stems from a petition by a group of Midwest governors to permit the summertime sale of E15 in their states. The petition is authorized under a provision in the Clean Air Act allowing an exclusion from the 1 psi waiver for E10 upon notification by a governor that the higher reid vapor pressure (RVP) limit will increase air emissions in that state. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to grant the petition and promulgate regulations to revert to a 9 psi RVP for that area no later than 90 days after the date of receipt of the notification. However, the EPA determined the request would result in a shortage of gasoline in the petitioning states for summer 2023, therefore, deciding to delay implementation until summer 2024 for Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) said in a statement that granting the petition for summer 2023 would be “completely infeasible” given that summertime gasoline production is already underway and that EPA “did the right thing” by taking 2023 off the table. However, summertime 2024 implementation “remains a problem.” EPA proposed an effective date of April 28, 2024, and will accept public comment on the proposal to delay E15 until summer 2024 for 45 days once published in the Federal Register.
The Energy Marketers of America (EMA) urged the EPA to delay the approval of an exclusion from the 1 psi waiver because it would require the creation of a boutique fuel exclusive to the petitioning states, thus limiting gasoline supply to the region. Last December, EMA sent a letter to Congressional leadership regarding a legislation that would allow E15 to be sold throughout the year. While there is no guarantee Congress can pass the E15 bill legislatively before the summer 2024, EMA urges Congress to appropriate sufficient funding so that small businesses can participate in the E15 market.