Growth Energy CEO and President Tom Buis called EPA's decision to allow the blending of ethanol with gasoline at 15% for model year 2007 and newer vehicles an important first step and a historic decision. He says this is the first crack in the blend wall since it was established in 1979. The decision means that over 20% of the U.S. fleet and one-third of the fuel consumption will be able to utilize E15.
In addition to announcing the decision on the fuel waiver that Growth Energy had requested last year, EPA also rolled out a proposal on labeling fuel pumps at retail stations, which Buis says is also very important.
"It will give all stakeholders an opportunity to comment on how to prevent misfueling and liability," Buis said. "You've heard all the critics speculate about misfueling, but I will remind everyone this is not the first fueling change our country has gone through. We successfully transitioned from leaded to unleaded a few years ago, and in fact currently on the market today there are two types of diesel fuels based on the age of the diesel engines and the vehicles. I'm confident we can make this change work as well."
Buis was quick to point out that the decision of the EPA would not result in E15 in the marketplace tomorrow. First of all the decision is voluntary and second there are other regulatory measures that must be cleared including fuel certification registration and state regulatory changes as well.
"While some will look at this whole effort by EPA as a glass half empty, we at Growth Energy view the decision as a glass half full, an opportunity to expand and tear down the blend wall," Buis said. "Now we must roll up our sleeves and make this split-decision work and continue to move forward. This is a crack in the blend wall, but we will not rest until the blend wall comes down entirely."