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EPA Moves To Mitigate E15 Misfueling

Posted on February 8, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a new blender pump configuration for the sale of E15 and E10. The configuration, submitted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), can be used by retail stations that wish to dispense E15 and E10 from a blender pump with a common hose and nozzle.

Blender pumps, or multiple-grade dispensers, are fuel dispensers that dispense multiple gasoline-ethanol blended fuels such as E10, E15 and E85 through a common hose and nozzle. EPA said that when two different gasoline-ethanol blended fuels are dispensed from the same hose and nozzle, residual fuel from a prior fueling of E15 may be commingled with a subsequent fueling of E10, resulting in inadvertent misfueling.

In an effort to address this potential misfueling issue, EPA approved a requirement mandating a minimum purchase of four gallons from blender pumps that dispense both E10 and E15 from the same hose and nozzle. EPA said that such an approach would prevent misfueling by diluting any residual E15 left in the hose from the previous sale of E15. However, groups representing manufacturers of smaller engines and equipment objected to this configuration because their products have gas tanks that are normally two gallons or smaller.

In response, the RFA developed and proposed the new configuration that EPA has approved. Retail stations that wish to use this new configuration must provide a fuel pump with at least one dedicated hose and nozzle dispensing a gasoline-ethanol blended fuel containing no more than 10 volume percent ethanol (E10 or lower). These retail stations must also prominently affix a new label to its blender pumps which says “Passenger Vehicles Only. Use in Other Vehicles, Engines and Equipment May Violate Federal Law.” Retail stations must also post additional signage informing consumers of the availability and location of the dedicated E10 (or lower) fuel pump.

EPA said it believes the new configuration is suitable for dispensing E15. Since retail stations using this new configuration would re-direct customers with vehicles, engines, and equipment not covered by the E15 partial waivers to a dedicated fuel pump that exclusively dispenses E10 or fuel containing less than 10% ethanol by volume, those customers would not inadvertently misfuel their vehicles, engines and equipment. Therefore, EPA has approved the configuration for general use.