WASHINGTON, D.C. — On June 12, a group of advanced biofuels stakeholders led by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and the Advanced Biofuels Business Council (ABBC) sent a letter to Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) asking for support of the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517). The bill was introduced in March and has 18 bipartisan sponsors, including Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and would extend a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver to fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol (E15), allowing it to be sold year-round.

The RVP control season stems from an outdated regulation that hasn’t been updated since 1990, forcing gas stations to restrict their sales of E15 to flex fuel vehicles only, or remove it from sale altogether between June 1 and September 15. 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 simply because higher blends were not yet conceived when the law was written.

In response to the letter, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement.

“Growth Energy commends this group of advanced biofuels producers and trade associations for their support of the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. Securing a permanent, legislative solution to the RVP issue is critical not only for consumer choice at the pump and the environment, but also for the growth of the advanced biofuels industry.

“Thislegislation adds two words to the 1990 law, extending the RVP waiver to fuel with 10 or more percent ethanol which would allow E15 to be sold year-round. Expanded consumer access to E15 will provide a strong market for the next generation of cellulosic biofuels produced from agricultural waste and other natural materials. The advanced biofuel industry continues to drive innovation in the transportation fuels space, and we are starting to see more cellulosic gallons in the market. Expanded access to E15 will allow cellulosic ethanol to compete at the pump and make environmental gains for generations to come.

“E15 provides motorists a choice at the that reduces harmful emissions, boosts engine performance, and saves them money at the pump. An RVP waiver is a common-sense solution that will make this option more available across the U.S., as well as provide a healthy market for cellulosic biofuels. Growth Energy stands firmly with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, and the other signatories of this letter in support of the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act.”

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