An ethanol interest group is putting its support behind a bill set for a Congressional hearing next week that would extend the Reid Vapor Pressure volatility waiver to E15, to allow for the blend to be sold year-round.
Ethanol is low volatility and gasoline is low volatility. When the two fuels are mixed the volatility spikes, but only at blends just below E10. As more ethanol is blended with gasoline the vapor pressure decreases, which essentially means E15 reduces vapor pressure.
Growth Energy announced Friday it is launching what it calls a "seven-figure" campaign to promote the "Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act." There is a hearing scheduled for June 14 before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, http://bit.ly/….
"This legislation is essential to America's continued leadership in low-carbon biofuels," Growth Energy Chief Executive Officer Emily Skor said in a statement.
"It will lift a needless burden on retailers and let drivers pick their own fuel, saving money and improving air quality. For too long, outdated rules have forced drivers to switch to less environmentally-friendly options at the pump during the summer driving season, when fuel prices reach their peak. After three years of hard work, we finally have a chance to enact a fix."
The Growth Energy campaign features both television and digital advertisements to air in Washington, D.C., and other key markets across the country.
Current law limits E15 sales from June 1 to Sept. 15. In a news release Friday, Growth Energy cites a study by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute that shows E15 can help to reduce volatile organic compound emissions, "displace cancer-causing emissions, and reduce smog forming potential, as well as cutting greenhouse gases. E15 is also typically 2 to 10 cents cheaper per gallon than E10."
The Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act was introduced in March and has 18 bipartisan sponsors, including Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. According to Growth Energy senators who support the bill hope to bring it up for a vote in the next few weeks.
Also this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received an engine patent it has sought for nearly 10 years, for a high-efficiency, high-compression engine that uses ethanol blends such as E30.
According to a news release from the Urban Air Initiative, the EPA's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory has faced a number of regulatory roadblocks in pursuing the patent for the high-efficiency engine.
David VanderGriend, president of the Urban Air Initiative said in a statement the action "supports and validates years of UAI research and data analysis that high octane ethanol blends are superior motor fuels to gasoline, if engines are designed to take advantage of ethanol's properties."
VanderGriend questioned EPA's intent in obtaining the patent.
"Here we have EPA agreeing that higher ethanol blends can reduce emissions and acknowledging that engines and fuels must be looked at as an integrated system," he said in a statement.
"Adjusting compression to address the slightly lower energy content of ethanol while taking advantage of the octane is something automakers can do. But the inconsistencies with these findings and the actions of the regulators is maddening. The reason we have not seen these engines coming out of the auto industry is the roadblocks EPA has created keeping ethanol out of the market."
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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