New York State approves sale of cleaner burning ethanol blended E15 fuel

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The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets has finalised a rule enabling the state of New York to allow the sale of E15, a blend of fuel with 15% ethanol.

This approval will open up America’s fourth largest fuel market to E15 fuel, which is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for all vehicle models year 2001 and newer.

Welcoming the news, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said: “It’s exciting to see New York regulators finalise this vital update, and we thank Governor Cuomo and the Department of Agriculture and Markets for giving Empire State motorists access to cleaner, more affordable choices at the pump.

“Over the last five years, Growth Energy has worked continuously with state policymakers to bring higher-octane, lower-emissions biofuel blends to the nation’s fourth largest fuel market. New York has been a pioneer in the climate movement, and their adoption of E15 is consistent with their commitment to a low-carbon transportation future.

“If New York transitioned from E10 to E15, it would lower carbon emissions by 748,000 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of removing approximately 129,400 vehicles from New York’s roads. We look forward to working with retailers across the state to quickly get E15 into the market and establish New York’s continued leadership in low-carbon fuels.”

The American Coalition of Ethanol (ACE), however, expressed disappointment that the rule explicitly aims to prohibit market access to mid-level ethanol blends.

In September, ACE CEO Brian Jennings submitted comments to the Department of Agriculture and Markets in support of its proposal to conform New York with federal regulations to allow year-round access to E15, however opposed the proposal to prohibit the sale of mid-level blends greater than 15% and less than 51%.

In response to the move by New York, Jennings commented: “ACE applauds the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets for a rule recognising E15 is a clean, safe and low-cost fuel which will give the state’s consumers the option to buy a higher quality product and save money at the pump. As one of the largest gasoline markets in the US, New York’s action to allow E15 sales is a very encouraging step.

“Nonetheless, we are disappointed New York appears to be following the footsteps of the Environmental Protection Agency in trying to restrict consumer access to mid-level ethanol blends. With nearly one million flexible fuel vehicles on New York roads and approximately 100 stations equipped to offer mid-level blends along with E85, we are concerned the prohibition on blends between 16 and 50% ethanol by volume will take options away from retailers and consumers who could benefit from mid-level blends.

“We appreciate that the Department intends ‘to closely monitor the marketplace and will consider, at some future point, allowing additional blends if the marketplace adapts well to the introduction of E15’ and we look forward to assisting in the development of this market opportunity in the future.”

Last month US drivers surpassed 11 billion miles driven on E15 fuel, with adoption rates continuing to rise following the EPA’s approval of year-round sales of the fuel.