This Christmas list item gets complicated, so bear with me.
An RVP waiver – Reid Vapor Pressure waiver – is what Americans really need to use more renewable fuels and capitalize on the domestic, clean-burning fuel we have right at our fingertips.
SANTA, BRING THAT WAIVER FOR E15!
The back story on this request is that when it’s really hot, bad stuff (emissions) evaporate from your fuel (evaporative emissions) and can cause summertime air pollution. The EPA doesn’t want that to happen.
They measure the evaporative emissions using the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) standard. The higher the RVP of a fuel, the worse its emissions are.
The RVP of pure ethanol is 2. The RVP of gasoline can range from 7 to 15.
But when blended, the RVP of an ethanol/gasoline blend can exceed the RVP standard. The RVP of a 10% blend of ethanol into gasoline (the standard fuel today) is about 10.
In 1990, Congress amended the Clean Air Act to allow E10 a waiver – in other words, Congress gave EPA the authority to allow the use of E10 during the summer months. But we’re still waiting on the waiver to allow E15 in the summer months, and the absence of that waiver is what makes E15’s movement into the marketplace so complicated.
By the way, the RVP of E15 is actually lower than E10 and straight gasoline.
So, Santa, I’m not sure if you understood all this, but we could really use that waiver in our hands on Christmas Eve. The world stands to benefit from cleaner air, and consumers will definitely enjoy the extra cents per gallon in their pockets.