The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) led an effort to distribute a multi organizational letter today thanking Senator Ernst for advocating for the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation currently being considered by the U.S. Senate. The act would lift the summertime restriction on E15 sales. E15 is a high-octane fuel comprised of 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline. Ernst serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee which will hold a hearing on the legislation tomorrow. We also commend the entire Iowa Delegation who were instrumental in the introduction and strong support of this bill.
Currently, during the summer driving months (June 1 to September 15), fuel retailers cannot offer this fuel to non-flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) because it violates statutory Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) limits, an arcane regulatory barrier. In 1990, Congress limited the amount of evaporative emissions from vehicle fuel at 9 pounds per square inch (psi) RVP. Pure ethanol has a 3 psi RVP, only when combined with gasoline at low levels, does the RVP of ethanol blended fuel exceed 9 psi. Despite E15 having a lower RVP profile than E10, E10 has been granted an one pound per square inch (psi) RVP waiver, while E15 has not received the same treatment.
Fuel retailers want to offer American drivers another choice at the pump that can save motorists money, increase vehicle performance, help improve their business and improve the environment. For corn farmers, who currently sell one-third of their crop for renewable fuel production, removing a barrier that discourages many retailers from selling E15 is a no-cost means to increase grain demand that provides significant benefits to consumers as well.
E15 produces lower emissions than regular gasoline, and E15 can be sold year-round in areas with air quality challenges. Using E15 nationwide would reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 39.5 million tons, the equivalent of removing 6.3 million vehicles from American roadways.
ICGA supports consistent treatment of E15 and E10 (often referred to as super unleaded) regarding summer blends, vapor pressure caps and waivers. We urge the Committee to approve and advance this legislation this summer.