Congress urged to remove RVP limits on ethanol

RVP limits fuel retailers' ability to offer E15 during summer months.

The National Sorghum Producers joined the National Corn Growers Assn., American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union in signing a letter to members of the House and Senate in support of removing an unnecessary Environmental Protection Agency limitation on fuel retailers that would give consumers a choice at the pump that saves them money, enhances vehicle performance and improves the environment.

In 1990, Congress limited the amount of evaporative emissions from fuels to 9 psi of Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP). Pure ethanol has 3 psi of RVP, but when it's combined with gasoline at low levels, fuel RVP can exceed 9 psi. As a result, Congress allowed fuel with 10% ethanol to have a 1 psi of RVP waiver. EPA has extended that relief to blends of less than 10% but has declined to extend the relief to blends greater than 10%, such as E15.

The real-world impact of this EPA barrier is that retailers in most areas of the country cannot offer E15 during the summer driving season that runs from June 1 through Sept. 15, so many simply do not offer the blend at all. However, retailers in air quality non-attainment areas can offer E15 year-round due to the greater reduction in exhaust emissions, and retailers have been doing so in increasing numbers.

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