WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the final action that would remove the key regulatory barrier to using gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol (E15) during the summer driving season and reform the renewable identification number (RIN) compliance system under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to increase transparency and deter price manipulation. Taken together, these steps follow through on the Trump Administration’s commitment to responsible environmental protection that promotes energy independence, regulatory reform, and increasing the use of biofuels to give consumers more choices, while supporting American farmers.

“Following President Trump’s directive, today’s action expands the market for biofuels and improves the RFS program by increasing transparency and reducing price manipulation,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “As President Trump promised, EPA is approving the year-round sale of E15 in time for summer driving season, giving drivers more choices at the pump.”

With today’s action, EPA is finalizing regulatory changes to apply the 1-psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver that currently applies to E10 during the summer months so that it applies to E15 as well. This removes a significant barrier to wider sales of E15 in the summer months, thus expanding the market for ethanol in transportation fuel. 

EPA is also finalizing regulatory changes to reform certain elements of the RIN compliance system of the RFS program to increase transparency and deter price manipulation in the RIN market. The reforms include requirements for public disclosure if a party’s RIN holdings exceed certain thresholds and additional data collections to improve EPA market monitoring capability. These new reforms will also help EPA continue to gather the information needed to decide whether further action is needed to ensure stability in the RIN market.

To further strengthen confidence in the RFS program, EPA will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Internal Revenue Service to promote collaboration and support efforts to prevent against RIN and blender tax credit fraud.

More information is available here: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/final-rulemaking-modifications-fuel-regulations-provide-flexibility

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Mike Scruggs