E15 Sales Take A Beating From RVP Ban

  • Thursday, 09 August 2018 14:36

E15 sales in Minnesota plunged 46 percent in June as the EPA's annual antiquated reid vapor pressure (RVP) ban on E15 to non flex fuel vehicles during the summer months took effect.  

E15 pump FFV 

Picture Caption: E15 labeled as a flex fuel during RVP season

According to data from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, E15 sales in Minnesota in June totaled 3.63 million gallons, 46 percent lower than the record 6.74 million gallons recorded in May. 

At 3.63 million gallons, the volume of E15 sold in June was the lowest level recorded in Minnesota since October 2017 (3.19 million gallons).

To recap, the EPA sets the RVP limit to 9.0 in the summer months to reduce evaporation of fuel from cars and storage and transfer equipment during the summer months. When gasoline evaporates, it contributes to smog. The PSI for E10 increases by 1 during the summer months but Congress-imposed an RVP waiver for E10. According to the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the RVP for E15 is indistinguishable from E10.

Since the RVP limit doesn't apply to flex fuels, many gas stations in Minnesota label E15 as a flex fuel during the summer months. 

President Trump has repeatedly said he favors lifting the RVP ban on E15 but until today, there has been no indication that RVP relief for E15 is any closer to becoming a reality. 

Cumulatively, E15 sales in the first half of 2018 totaled 33.62 million gallons, breaching the 30-million-gallon mark for the first time. 

High gas prices also drove sales for both E85 and E30 at 1.68 million gallons and 65,530 gallons respectively.