Clean Air Act Waiver to Increase Allowable Ethanol Content of Gasoline from 10% to 15%
Most Recent Action
The EPA has granted final approval for the sale of 15 percent blended ethanol fuel known as “E15.” The last step was approval of “misfueling mitigation plans” for retailers to avoid commingling E15 with ordinary gasoline since E15 is only approved for cars manufactured after 2001.
The EPA received a request for a waiver under section 211(f)(4) of the Clean Air Act for ethanol blends up to 15 volume percent (E15). On October 13, 2010, the EPA granted a portion of the waiver request. Under the EPA’s waiver decision, fuel and fuel additive manufacturers are allowed to introduce into commerce gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol (also known as E15). On January 21, 2011, EPA granted a partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. Taken together, the two actions allow, but do not require, E15 to be introduced into commerce for use in MY2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles if conditions for mitigating misfueling and ensuring fuel quality are met.
In June 2012 the EPA granted final approval for the sale of 15 percent blended ethanol fuel. The last step was approval of “misfueling mitigation plans” for retailers to avoid commingling E15 with ordinary gasoline since E15 is only approved for cars manufactured after 2001.
The EPA denied a portion of the original waiver for introduction of E15 for use in model year 2000 and older light-duty motor vehicles, as well as all heavy-duty gasoline engines and vehicles, highway and off-highway motorcycles, and nonroad engines, vehicles, and equipment.
The Clean Air Act provides EPA with the authority to regulate fuels and fuel additives in order to reduce the risk to public health from exposure to their emissions. The regulations at 40 CFR Part 79 require that each manufacturer or importer of gasoline, diesel fuel, or a fuel additive, have its product registered by EPA prior to its introduction into commerce. Registration involves providing a chemical description of the product and certain technical, marketing and health-effects information. This allows EPA to identify the likely combustion and evaporative emissions. In certain cases, health-effects testing is required for a product to maintain its registration or before a new product can be registered. EPA uses this information to identify products whose emissions may pose an unreasonable risk to public health, warranting further investigation and/or regulation.
Section 211(f)(4) of the Clean Air Act provides that upon application by any fuel or fuel additive manufacturer, the Administrator may waive the registration prohibitions if the applicant has established that the new fuel or fuel additive will not cause or contribute to engines, vehicles or equipment failing to meet their emissions standards over their useful life.
EPA's Rule (PDF) informing consumers regarding Ethanol use, July 25, 2011
Partial Waiver Decision, January 21, 2011
Fact Sheet, January 21, 2011
Notice of Partial Waiver Decision, October 13, 2010
Fact Sheet, October 13, 2010
E15 Status Update, July 2010
EPA Letter to Petitioners, November 30, 2009
Notice of Receipt of a Clean Air Act Waiver Application to Increase the Allowable Ethanol Content of Gasoline to 15 Percent, Extension of Comment Period; May 20, 2009.