An emergency fuel waiver issued by the EPA ended the summer restriction on E15 two weeks early in 38 states, and offset gasoline supply shortfalls caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Maybe you didn’t think too much about it, but fuel price spikes were limited, and fuel shortfalls were only reported for a day or two, mostly because enough domestically produced ethanol was available to supplement to fuel supply.
Ethanol’s ability to extend fuel supplies and dampen price shocks during this chaotic time in the marketplace underscores the need for EPA to eliminate the summer restriction on E15 and allow year-round sales of the fuel nationwide. Since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25, ethanol prices have averaged a 14% discount to gasoline prices (25 cents per gallon).
“Being able to offer E15 to my customers throughout the South, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic these past two weeks have been incredibly helpful as retailers scramble to fulfill demand,” said Steve Walk, vice president of Business Development for Florida-based Protec Fuel, which supplies ethanol blends to more than 200 retailers. “The Gulf Coast region experienced major damage, with refineries that were knocked out slowly coming back online. There continues to be a shortfall of supply, but thanks to EPA’s actions, I have been able to provide E15 to retailers before Sept. 16. That has made a difference in preventing further price increases and ensuring plentiful supply for consumers.”
Thank you to our partners the Renewable Fuels Association for requesting the emergency fuel waiver and for reporting on the resulting “save” for consumers nationwide. You can read more at their website here.