LINCOLN – Thanks to an EPA rule change, consumers will start seeing E15 for sale all year round, instead of it’s traditionally restricted window of September through April.
“E15” is a combustible fuel blend made with 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol, and is EPA-approved for use in all 2001 and newer cars, SUVs, and light-duty trucks. (AAA and a few auto makers contend that E15 may be harmful to engines in vehicles older than 2012.)
The rule change has been warmly received by Nebraska lawmakers and ethanol producers, with Governor Pete Ricketts saying, “As the summer driving season kicks off, consumers now have the option to choose a fuel that’s cheaper for them and better for our state’s environment and economy. Increased demand for ethanol will also be a boon to our state’s corn farmers during a time of low commodity prices.”
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse has been a co-sponsor of legislation supporting the sale of year-round E-15, and he too is pleased by the rule change. “This is a common-sense rule change, and a good move that benefits Nebraska,” said Sasse. “The EPA’s old rule tied the hands of our ethanol producers with unnecessary red tape. This is great news that helps hard-working corn growers and Nebraskans at the pump.”
The EPA, under the Bush administration, limited ethanol blends in gasoline because the agency says it emits more particles into the atmosphere than smog regulations permit when used during the summer months. Limiting the months of sale to the April-September period was a compromise between the desire to use ethanol at US fueling stations and protecting the environment from increased smog levels.
Troy Bredenkamp, executive director of Renewable Fuels Nebraska, disputes the idea that ethanol blends will cause more pollution. “With over 7 billion miles driven without incident, E-15 has already proven to be safe for vehicles while saving consumers money at the pump and reducing emissions,” he said. “With today’s final approval by the EPA, the American drivers will be able to enjoy those benefits without interruption. That is a good thing for the American consumer, the American farmer and American environment and the air we all breathe.”
E15 is approved for use in all FlexFuel vehicles, but consumers should check their manuals and warranties before fueling up their cars, trucks or small engines with the fuel. Consumers are also cautioned to read pump labels carefully as E15 becomes more readily available at gas stations throughout the country.