WASHINGTON – The American Petroleum Institute (API) released data this week on the demand for non-ethanol gasoline (E0).
The data, compiled using data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), shows that demand for E0 is strong and growing. In 2012, demand in the marketplace was 3.4 and has reached almost 7 percent in 2014.
“The EPA must take this into account as it prepares to release biofuel mandates for 2014, 2015 and 2016,” API Downstream Group Director Bob Greco told reporters in a joint conference call Wednesday with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). “Consumers want E0 for their boats, for lawn equipment, for recreational vehicles and for classic cars.”
The 2014, 2015 and 2016 Renewable Fuel Standards proposals were recently sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget. In a tentative court settlement with API and AFPF, the EPA has agreed to publish the proposal by June 1.
“We anticipate, and the EPA has made every assurance, that they will hit the June 1 deadline,” said Greco. “This has gone on long enough and we need the EPA to move forward with this as quickly as they can.”
If the EPA does not meet the deadline, API and AFPF will have to go back to court to compel the EPA to issue it, which would not be a quick process and would result in further delays.
Strong demand for E0 stands in stark contrast to demand for high ethanol blends like E85, which represents 0.15 percent of overall gasoline demand, according to Greco. He said demand for E85 in recent years has been relatively flat, despite more stations offering E85 as an option.
“We remain concerned the EPA may raise the ethanol requirements based on the specious reasoning [that] E8, a mixture of up to 85 percent ethanol with 15 percent gasoline, is a workable solution. It is not,” Greco said. “EPA should not try to mandate a market for fuels like E85 for which there is no demand while trying to eliminate fuels like E0 for which actual consumers have shown a substantial demand. … Consumers’ interest should come ahead of the ethanol interests.”
Over 87 million Americans participated in recreational boating in 2014, which means boating is enjoyed by roughly one-third of the population. The industry has an economic impact of about $121 billion, 650,000 jobs and 35,000 businesses, according to Nicole Vasilaros, vice president of federal and legal affairs for NMMA.
As a result of the damaging effects ethanol blends have on marine engines, many boaters have turned to E0 in an attempt to reduce the risk of misfueling. Valisaros said hat if E0 were to disappear from the marketplace and E15 ontinued to expand as a result of the RFS, boaters will be forced to face significant consequences.
“Many boaters rely on E0 to power their vessels,” said Vasilaros. “E0 is not guaranteed to remain available as a result of the RFS and the influx of higher ethanol blends. An inability to find E0 or a simple misfueling mistake could cause boaters to see engine stalling, corrosion leading to oil or fuel leaks, increased emissions and damaged valves, rubber fuel lines and gaskets.”