American drivers logged 5 billion miles on E15 last week, despite restrictions on the sale of E15 fuel across most of the country. During summer months, consumers only have access to E15 if they drive flex-fuel vehicles because of Reid Vapor Pressure restrictions on the fuel.
The number of E15 stations has doubled in the last four years in a row to include 1,400 stations across 30 states. But each of these retailers faces prohibitive costs each year to relabel every pump around RVP season, while consumers lose options at the pump with gas prices are highest, says Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO.
RVP relief now would lift the rural economy out of the worst crisis in a generation and would put the biofuels industry on the path to an additional 1.3 billion gallons of ethanol demand within five years.
Not sure what RVP is? Let me explain it in layman’s terms …
When it’s really hot, bad stuff (emissions) evaporate from your fuel (evaporative emissions) and can cause summertime air pollution. The EPA doesn’t want that to happen.
They measure the evaporative emissions using the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) standard. The higher the RVP of a fuel, the worse its emissions are.
The RVP of pure ethanol is 2. The RVP of gasoline can range from 7 to 15.
But when blended, the RVP of an ethanol/gasoline blend can exceed the RVP standard. The RVP of a 10% blend of ethanol into gasoline (the standard fuel today) is about 10.
In 1990, Congress amended the Clean Air Act to allow E10 a waiver – in other words, Congress gave EPA the authority to allow the use of E10 during the summer months. But we’re still waiting on the waiver to allow E15 in the summer months, and the absence of that waiver is what makes E15’s movement into the marketplace so complicated.
By the way, the RVP of E15 is actually lower than E10 and straight gasoline.
“When we give consumers a better option at the pump, they choose E15 again and again,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “That’s why Americans have surpassed more than 5 billion miles on E15, which provides unrivaled value for their engines, the environment, and their wallets.”