EPA Requires Ethanol Use in California, Connecticut, New York

June 08, 2005

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 2nd that it will reject petitions made by the states of California, Connecticut, and New York to waive the oxygen content requirement for reformulated gasoline. The decision effectively maintains a requirement for the three states to use ethanol as a gasoline additive. Although both MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) and ethanol are used as oxygenates to meet the EPA's reformulated gasoline requirements, the three states have banned the use of MTBE and, in the absence of a waiver, must use ethanol instead.

In rejecting the state petitions, the EPA found that neither New York nor Connecticut submitted the technical data necessary for the agency to determine the air quality impacts of a waiver. And although EPA agreed with California's claim that a waiver would lead to a decrease in some vehicle emissions, the EPA concluded that the overall impact on emissions is slight. The agency found that total volatile organic compound and nitrogen oxide emissions are likely to decrease with a waiver, but carbon monoxide emissions are likely to increase. See the EPA press release.

The ethanol fuel industry has had its share of good news lately. In early May, Maryland established tax credits for the in-state production of ethanol and biodiesel when the governor approved Senate Bill 740. And at the end of May, Ohio gained its first ethanol fuel facility when the Liquid Resources plant went online near Medina. The good news should provide plenty to talk about at the 21st Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo, which comes to Kansas City, Missouri on June 28th and continues through July 1st. See Maryland's Senate Bill 740, the Liquid Resources press release from the Renewable Fuels Association, and the Fuel Ethanol Workshop Web site.