On January 19, EPA proposed rulemaking covering E15 labeling on fuel dispensers and compatibility with underground storage tank (UST) systems. The proposed rule is designed to make it easier to sell E15 from E10 certified equipment.

The first part of the rule seeks public comment on whether to modify, or eliminate altogether, the E15 dispenser warning label. The label is currently required by the E15 Misfueling Mitigation Rule. The label used today is designed to warn consumers against dispensing E15 into the fuel tanks of light-duty motor vehicles manufactured before 2001, boats, motorcycles, all heavy-duty gasoline engines and other gasoline-powered equipment. EPA determined in 2010/2011 that the use of E15 in those instances would cause or contribute to impairment of those vehicles’ and engines’ emission controls, harm public health from increases in regulated emissions, and cause durability and materials compatibility issues. With this rulemaking, EPA is co-proposing (with the Federal Trade Commission) two options with respect to the E15 label. Under the first option, EPA proposes modifications to the label intended to provide additional clarity to consumers and decrease confusion. Under the second option, EPA proposes to remove the label entirely.

The second part of the proposed rulemaking covers UST system compatibility with E15. Specifically, EPA proposes to grant certain allowances for owners and operators who are unable to demonstrate UST system compatibility, making it easier for them to store E15 in existing equipment. Under EPA’s proposal:

  • Owners and operators of UST systems already in existence one year after the effective date of the rule who cannot determine compatibility (e.g., cannot find installation documentation) for all equipment and components are not required to demonstrate compatibility if the UST systems have secondarily-contained tanks and piping (including safe suction piping) and use interstitial monitoring.
  • For equipment other than tanks and piping, owners and operators must adhere to the existing requirement in the federal UST regulations to demonstrate compatibility. If owners and operators can demonstrate compatibility of certain existing equipment, they will not need to replace all of their equipment to demonstrate compatibility with higher blends of ethanol. EPA references unlined steel single-wall tanks, unlined steel double-wall tanks, single-wall fiberglass tanks, double-wall fiberglass tanks, flexible piping, fiberglass containment sumps, pumping equipment, spill equipment, release detection equipment and overfill equipment in its proposal.

EPA is also proposing a new requirement that future installation of UST systems, or UST equipment and components that are replaced, must be constructed with equipment and components that are compatible with ethanol blends up to 100 percent. This requirement would be effective within one year of the effective date of the rule.

You can access the rulemaking here. The Energy Marketers of America (EMA) Motor Fuels Committee and UST Task Force plan to meet to discuss the proposed rule and formulate a response. A 90-day comment period will give stakeholders plenty of time to make their case. EPA plans to hold a public hearing about the proposed rulemaking during the comment period. We will report on what happened at the hearing on this website.