RVP Period Begins Today, Highlights Need for Legislative Solution

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) control season begins in nearly 70 percent of the country, severely restricting the ability of retailers to sell and consumers to buy E15 fuel from June 1 to September 15. In response to the RVP restrictions going into effect, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement: 

“This issue is a classic example of a hopelessly out of date regulation negatively impacting the free market,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “E15 is a federally approved fuel for all cars 2001 and newer that boosts octane, saves consumers up to 10 cents per gallon at the pump, and improves the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and displacing toxic additives in gasoline. Consumers have recently surpassed over 1 billion miles driven on the fuel, and it is now available at over 800 retail sites across 29 states. Drivers are demanding E15, and more retailers are offering it every day.

“However, due to an outdated regulation that hasn’t been updated since 1990, gas stations are forced to restrict their sales to flex fuel vehicles only, or remove it from sale altogether between June 1 and September 15. That means that when gas prices are at their peak, consumers are denied the choice of an affordable, cleaner option at the pump. A key waiver that was extended to fuels containing zero to 10 percent ethanol in 1990 – in large part because these fuels lowered tailpipe emissions and carbon monoxide – was not extended to E15 because higher blends were not yet conceived when the law was written.

“Fortunately, the bipartisan Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S.517/H.R.1311) was introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Reps. Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA), in March that simply adds two words to the 1990 law, extending the RVP waiver to fuel with 10 or more percent ethanol, allowing retailers across the country to offer more biofuel choices to customers year-round. Growth Energy strongly supports this bill, as well as consumer choice in the retail fuels marketplace.”

RVP is a measure of how quickly fuel evaporates, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates vapor pressure/RVP to prevent increased ozone or smog from vehicle emissions. Congress granted gasoline with 10 percent ethanol (E10) an RVP waiver; however, the same volatility waiver does not apply to any ethanol-blended fuel above E10 even though these fuels have a lower vapor pressure.

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