EPA Proposes Updated E16-E83 Blend Regs

Agency Seeks to Support Market Growth of Ethanol, Other Renewable Fuels

CRANBURY, N.J. (DTN) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing several enhancements to the Renewable Fuel Standard and related fuel regulations "to support market growth of ethanol and other renewable fuels in the U.S."

One of the key actions proposed is an update to fuel regulations to expand the "availability of high ethanol fuel blends for use in flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)," said EPA in their proposal found on the agency's rulemaking website: https://www.epa.gov/….

FFVs, which currently account for roughly 8% of the U.S. passenger vehicle fleet, are designed to operate on any gasoline-ethanol mixture up to an 83% concentration of ethanol.

"EPA is revising its gasoline regulations to make it clear that E16-E83 fuel blends are not gasoline, and hence not fully subject to gasoline quality standards," said the agency.

EPA said it would put in place standards that ensure the quality and environmental performance of this fuel.

"EPA believes this will clear the way for the expanded production and use of high ethanol fuel blends at a lower cost, and thereby the opportunity for increasing demand," said the agency.

Additional proposals are related to feedstock and upgraded processing at more than one production facility.

"These proposed changes will provide the opportunity for increasing the production and use of renewable fuels by allowing the market to operate in the most efficient and economical way to introduce greater volumes of renewable fuels under the program," said EPA.

The agency said it is also seeking comment on a variety of issues for renewable fuels, including generating Renewable Identification Numbers for renewable electricity used as transportation fuel.

The public comment period will be open for 60 days once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register.