This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 26, 2011

EPA Grants E15 Fuel Waiver for 2001-2006 Model Year Vehicles

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waived on January 21 a limitation on selling fuel that is more than 10% ethanol, allowing up to 15% ethanol for model year 2001 through 2006 cars, SUVs, and light trucks. In October, EPA ruled in favor of E15 for model year 2007 and newer vehicles. This is part of a number of actions that are needed from federal, state, and industry to allow commercialization of so-called E15 gasoline blends, according to EPA. For now, no waiver is being granted this year for E15 use in model year 2000 and older cars or light trucks—or in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines—because no testing data support such a waiver. Since 1979, up to 10% ethanol or E10 has been used for all conventional cars and light trucks, and for non-road vehicles.

Also, EPA is developing requirements to ensure that E15 is properly labeled at the gas pump. The label will be designed to prevent refueling into vehicles, engines, and equipment not currently approved for the higher ethanol blend. Ethanol is an alcohol that can be mixed with gasoline to result in a cleaner-burning fuel. E15 is a blend of 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol whose primary source is corn, but other grains or biomass sources such as corncobs, cornstalks, and switchgrass can be used. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandated an increase in the overall volume of renewable fuels in the marketplace, reaching a 36 billion gallon total in 2022. See the EPA press release and the EPA E15 Web site.