The US Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) this week outlined the conditions gas station operators need to meet to sell higher-ethanol gasoline from so-called "blender pumps" that may dispense gasoline with both 10 percent and 15 percent ethanol ( E10 and E15, respectively).

Among other requirements, stations need to have at least one pump that distributes solely E10, and to label to its blender pumps with a notice that says "Passenger Vehicles Only. Use in Other Vehicles, Engines and Equipment May Violate Federal Law." Additionally, as we heard earlier, anyone buying fuel from a blender pump has to be required to purchase at least four gallons of fuel. That way, any residual amount of E15 in the pump will be diluted enough to not pose harm for vehicles not designed to accommodate higher-ethanol gasoline.

Last June, the EPA officially legalized public sales of E15 in a move federal regulators believe could cut foreign oil dependency, help US farmers and possibly cut emissions. Last month, a US federal appeals court upheld that decision and turned down a request from oil and food trade organizations to consider reversing the decision. Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association and AAA are among groups that have publicly challenged the EPA decision, with AAA late last year requesting for the government to suspend E15 sales.

Check out the EPA's press release below, and read about some of the conditions gas stations need to meet to operate such blender pumps here.
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EPA approved a new blender pump configuration, submitted by the Renewable Fuels Association, for general use by retail stations that wish to dispense E15 and E10 from a common hose and nozzle.

In response to a request by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted two partial waivers that taken together allow but do not require the introduction into commerce of gasoline that contains greater than 10 volume percent (vol%) ethanol and up to 15 vol% ethanol (E15) for use in model year (MY) 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles, subject to certain conditions. On October 13, 2010, EPA granted the first partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2007 and newer light-duty motor vehicles (i.e., cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). On January 21, 2011, EPA granted the second partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. These decisions were based on test results provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other test data and information regarding the potential effect of E15 on vehicle emissions.

E15 may be lawfully sold by a fuel or fuel additive manufacturer only after the manufacturer has registered E15 and met the conditions of the partial waivers, which include a misfueling mitigation plan for minimizing the potential for E15 to be used in vehicles and engines not covered by the partial waivers. For more information on fuel registration, visit the Registration and Health Effects Testing page. For more information on specific waiver conditions, visit the Misfueling Mitigation Plans page and the Survey Plan page. There are a number of additional factors, including requirements under other federal, state, and local laws, that may also affect the distribution of E15.

With EPA's June 15, 2012 approval of a number of companies' misfueling mitigation plans, EPA has acted on each of the Clean Air Act steps required to bring E15 to market. Some companies have now met all of the Clean Air Act requirements related to E15 and may lawfully introduce E15 into the marketplace.

Learn more about EPA actions related to E15 by using the following links to Frequently Asked Questions, Notices & Regulations, Petition for New Rulemaking, E15 Registration and Misfueling Mitigation Plans.

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