Wednesday afternoon Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy announced that EPA has granted the waiver request to allow the use of 15% ethanol in gasoline. McCarthy told reporters that the waiver is for model year 2007 and newer vehicles. She also announced a separate proposal that is being put forward by the EPA concerning labeling.
"To eliminate opportunities for misfueling EPA is also proposing a program to properly label fuel pumps that dispense E15," McCarthy said. "This would include a requirement that fuel industry specify the ethanol content of gasoline they sell to retailers. There would also be a quarterly survey of retail stations to help ensure their gas pumps are properly labeled."
McCarthy says that testing continues on vehicles from 2001-2006 and a decision on whether or not the waiver will be extended to those vehicles will be made after testing is completed in November.
McCarthy stressed that the waiver allows the use of E15, but that EPA is not a requiring the use of E15.
"This decision is not a mandate to make E15 available all at once," McCarthy said. "EPA does not have that authority. Rather this decision is about allowing the use of gasoline blended with E15 ethanol by the appropriate vehicles, to use where and when E15 becomes available."
McCarthy told reporters that even though there is no mandate for use of E15, there is no question that the decision has the potential to increase the use of renewable fuels in the future.
"While E15 has only 5% more ethanol than E10, this amounts to a 50% increase in renewable fuels in a gallon of E15 than in a gallon of E10," McCarthy said. "In 2011 there will be more than 65 million model year 2007 and newer cars that can now utilize E15, which represents one-third of gasoline consumption. This will increase rapidly as the fleet turns over to more than 100 million vehicles and 50% of fuel consumption by 2014.