A publication covering convenience stores across the United States published an article on Feb. 15, painting a positive outlook for gasoline fuel blends with 15 percent ethanol – also known as E15.
The article, headlined “E15 Poised for Liftoff,” explained E15 advocates are awaiting the eventual rollout of year-round sales of 15 percent ethanol fuels. At least one source in the article stated the current mandate of preventing E15 sales during summer months was disruptive to sales.
“For supporters of E15, the 15 percent ethanol blend, its national rollout has always been a matter of when – not if,” the article in cspdailynews.com stated. “With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promising to have rulemaking that would allow E15’s year-round sale ready before the summer 2019 driving season, that finish line appears to finally be in sight.”
CSP Daily News is the publication for convenience stores – CSP stands for Convenience Store Products.
E15 sales are limited between June 1 and Sept. 15 every year – only vehicles with flex-fuel engines are permitted to fill up with the fuel during that stretch.
Sheetz Inc. Senior Vice President Mike Lorenz said the summer restriction on E15 fuels is unfair to business and confusing to the consumer. More than 200 stations under the Sheetz umbrella offer E15 fuels.
“It’s so disruptive to try to sell a product for eight months out of the year. Let’s face it: There’s no other grade of gasoline that has that restriction,” Lorenz told cspdailynews.com. “It’s extremely confusing for the consumer. That would be a huge win that we can sell it year-round like other grades of gasoline.”
The EPA could be issuing a rulemaking later this year, allowing E15 to be available year-round. Pres. Donald J. Trump advocated for year-round sales of E15 in 2018; his administration submitted a proposed to the EPA for a final rule making toward the end of last year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to sign off and support any rulemaking favoring year-round sales of E15.
A decision on year-round E15 sales could be finalized by the summer, although some worry whether the recent federal government shutdown might cause delays in the rulemaking process.