EPA Announces E15 Labeling

E15 is a step closer although registration of the fuel is still needed.

Published on: Jun 29, 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued fuel pump labeling rules and other requirements for gasoline blends containing more than 10% and up to 15% ethanol. The new orange and black label must appear on fuel pumps that dispense E15. This label will help inform consumers about which vehicles can use E15. This label will also warn consumers against using E15 in vehicles older than model year 2001, motorcycles, watercraft and gasoline-powered equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.

EPA is also issuing guidance on the compatibility of underground storage tanks with gasoline containing greater than 10% ethanol or diesel containing greater than 20% biodiesel. The guidance is intended to assist UST owners and operators, including farmers and ranchers, in meeting the existing federal UST compatibility requirements.

EPA does not mandate the use of E15, nor has the agency registered the fuel, which is required before E15 can be legally sold for use in conventional vehicles.

The National Corn Growers Association says the new label for gas pumps that will dispense E15 fuel is an improvement over what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initially proposed, but remains a cause for concern. NCGA President Bart Schott says the concern is that it still implies damage to vehicles not yet approved for E15 use by the EPA. Schott says the group is also bothered by with the color choice for the label. They believe it could be mistaken for a warning label, setting the wrong tone for consumers.

Growth Energy petitioned EPA in March of 2009 seeking regulatory approval to move E15 into the U.S. motor fuels marketplace. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis has been one of the strong voices supporting the implementation of EPA rules on labels for fuel pumps dispensing E15 and final rules pertaining to the handling and storage of E15. Buis says getting E15 to the marketplace later this year will create U.S. jobs, improve the environment and strengthen national security by displacing foreign oil.

"EPA's final label is more informative than their initial label which seemed inflammatory," said Brian Jennings, the executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol. "We remain concerned EPA feels it must say E15 may damage some motor vehicles without the evidence to prove that, however. ACE will continue working aggressively to make E15 workable."