Ethanol Blog

Renewable Fuels Association: California Slow Walking Approval of E15

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The Renewable Fuels Association is pressing California regulators to approve the use of E15. (DTN file photo by Elaine Shein)

LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- California is one of two states that do not allow the use of E15 and the head of the Renewable Fuels Association is pressing state officials to change that.

In a letter to California Air Resources Board Chairman Liane Randolph and Executive Officer Steven Cliff on Tuesday, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper asked the officials to approve the use of E15.

RFA said in the letter the state's failure to approve the fuel has caused "unnecessary increases" in greenhouse gas emissions and tailpipe pollution linked to smog, as well as higher prices at the pump in California. Montana is the only other state not allow E15 sales.

"California is woefully -- and inexplicably -- behind the rest of the nation when it comes to adopting a simple change to liquid fuel regulations that reduces both harmful tailpipe pollutants and GHG emissions from liquid-fueled light-duty vehicles," Cooper said in the letter.

"While CARB has taken some initial steps toward approval of E15, the process has been impaired by numerous delays, uncertain timelines, and a general lack of emphasis or prioritization from CARB leadership. All of the required testing and analysis on E15 has been completed and submitted to CARB; yet the agency appears to be purposely 'slow walking' the approval process."

Cooper asks CARB to commit to a timeline for approval of E15 that would include launching a rulemaking before the end of the year.

The letter said CARB's "continued failure" to allow the use of E15 "clearly contradicts" the scope and purpose of the waiver California has historically received from the Clean Air Act's preemption provisions.

The state has historically received a waiver from the Clean Air Act's preemption clause because the state's air pollution regulations have been at least as stringent as federal standards.

The letter goes on to say, "CARB's current gasoline regulations are less protective of public health and welfare than the federal standards that allow for E15 consumption in all light-duty vehicles built since 2001."

Cooper said if all gasoline in California in 2022 had been E15 instead of E10, the state would have seen a 450-million-gallon reduction in petroleum consumption and additional GHG savings of 2.2 billion metric tons, based on CARB's own data.

"By failing to act on E15 approval, CARB is incomprehensibly leaving massive air quality and climate benefits on the table," the letter said.

"Moreover, CARB's intransigence on E15 has directly hindered our association's efforts to replicate California climate policies -- specifically the LCFS -- in other jurisdictions beyond the West Coast. Other states that have considered following California's example on clean fuels policy ultimately have rejected the approach due, in large part, to CARB's befuddling prohibition on E15."

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