TOPEKA, Kan. — Renew Kansas Biofuels Association submitted written comments to Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) regarding the agency’s notice of public hearing on its proposal to revoke an existing regulation limiting the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of ethanol-blended motor vehicle fuel sold in the Kansas City area during the summer months.
“E15 fuel could be made available to consumers in Kansas City by simply revoking this unnecessary regulation,” Renew Kansas President and CEO Ron Seeber said. “Allowing the sale of higher blends of ethanol fuel in the Kansas City area will directly benefit fuel retailers, consumers, farmers and the Kansas ethanol industry. This rule change presents a solid win for Kansas.”
The regulation prohibiting higher blends of biofuels being sold in Kansas City during the summer months dates back to the 1971 federal Clean Air Act where both Kansas and Missouri entered into Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved State Implementation Plans (SIP) to assist Kansas City in attaining compliance with the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ozone.
The federal Clean Air Act limits the RVP of gasoline fuel to 9.0 psi during the summer. However, for blends of vehicle fuel containing up to 10 percent ethanol, a one-pound waiver of the RVP is allowed (RVP of up to 10.0 psi). In 2019, EPA interpreted the RVP of E15 fuel (15 percent ethanol) to be substantially similar to that of E10, and extended the one-pound RVP waiver to E15. However, the restriction in K.A.R. 28-19-719 still prohibits Kansas City retailers from selling E15 during the summer.
E15 is a clean, safe, and low-cost vehicle fuel with slightly lower evaporative emissions than E10. EPA first approved the use of E15 in vehicles in 2011. It is approved for use in more than 90 percent of the cars on the road today (all vehicles made in model year 2001 and after). In fact, both Travelers Motor Club, and Association Motor Club Marketing – reporting more than 20 million members nationwide – have endorsed E15 as a safe and affordable fuel.
E15 typically costs 3 to 10 cents per gallon less than E10 and gasoline. Allowing the sale of E15 year-round in Kansas City will provide consumers in that high-volume area more options to purchase a high quality fuel at a lower price. In fact, KDHE estimates that allowing consumers the opportunity to purchase E15 fuel in the Kansas City area could save them over $13 million annually.