June 1 marks the beginning of the official summer driving season and the changeover to summer-blended gasoline. This happens behind the scenes and with it comes the anticipated higher gas prices. We could mitigate some of those costs if the EPA would follow through on President Trump’s promise by granting the RVP waiver for all blends above E10, including E15, a choice that is available at a growing number of gas stations in Illinois. Add your voice to this conversation tomorrow (June 1) on Twitter by participating in a so-called tweetstorm from 7-9am central time. Use the hashtag #rfsworks to assist in social media analytics and the impact of the tweetstorm. If you cannot participate in the planned two-hour window, your tweets can still be beneficial so don’t hold back.
IL Corn is joined by other state corn associations and the National Corn Growers Association is asking for regulatory relief on the RVP issue. RVP is short for Reid Vapor Pressure. Ethanol blends above E10 need to be granted the RVP waiver (as was E10) so that the blends are legal to be sold at pumps year-round, instead of just during the non-summer months. Federal law and regulations limit the number of evaporative emissions from vehicle fuel, which is measured by its RVP. Fuels blended with up to 10 percent ethanol have a one-pound RVP waiver because ethanol-blended fuels reduce tailpipe emissions. To date, EPA has declined to grant a similar waiver to E15 and other blends above E10 even though research shows E15 produces the same or fewer evaporative emissions as E10. E15 is currently sold at more than 1300 stations in 29 states.
At a May 8 White House meeting, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to providing RVP parity, allowing consumers to have more choice at the pump year-round. The EPA, however, has yet to announce the necessary regulatory steps to make this a reality.
You’ll notice that, for example, starting June 1, E15 will switch from being labeled for all vehicles 2001 and newer to being only legal for flex-fuel vehicles. This is a burdensome, regulatory issue that must be resolved so that motorists can continue to benefit from cleaner air and lower prices at the pump during the summer driving season, the 4 months of the year that tend to have the highest gas prices.