The US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed rule to allow the year-round sale of E15 blended ethanol on 12 March.
Currently, 15% blends of ethanol in petrol are restricted in certain markets between 1 June and 15 September due to concerns that E15 contributes to smog in hot weather.
US President Donald Trump promised farmers and biofuel producers last year that his administration would lift the summertime ban on E15 sales to help boost demand for the corn-based fuel.
The Ethanol Producer Magazine said the EPA’s proposed rule also included provisions to deter speculation in the renewable identification number (RIN) market.
A RIN is a serial number assigned to a batch of biofuel to track its production, use and trading, as required by the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standard.
The EPA said the proposed changes to the RIN market would “bring greater transparency to the market and deter price manipulation.”
Proposals include bans on parties not involved in the fuel supply chain from trading RINs; public disclosure when RIN holdings exceed a certain threshold; and quarterly – instead of annual – sales of RINs to prevent “hoarding”.
However, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) urged the EPA to separate RIN reform from the E15 rule.
“With just 80 days left before the start of the summer driving season, finalising and implementing the E15 regulatory fix remains a tall order,” RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “That is why we have urged the EPA to separate the year-round E15 provisions from the RIN reform provisions, and move forward as quickly as possible to finalise a practical and defensible year-round E15 solution.”
Public comments on the rule must be submitted by 29 April.