EPA’s E15 Decision for KC Is a Win for Drivers, Air Quality and Corn Farmers
3-12-21: Kansas City drivers will have more fuel choices at the pump thanks to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision announced today that allows the year-round sale of E15 (15 percent ethanol) fuel in the Kansas City metro area. EPA removed a regulation that previously banned the sale of E15 in the region. The Kansas Corn Growers Association (KCGA) and Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) staff worked closely with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), and EPA to allow year-round E15 sales.
Missouri and Kansas drivers outside of the Kansas City metro area are already enjoying the benefits of E15 fuel as a choice at many retailer locations. While E15 will boost air quality, it also clears the way for lower-cost fuels for Kansas City consumers. Missouri Corn and Kansas Corn will now focus on working with fuel retailers to increase the availability of E15 in the region.
In its news release, EPA stated: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the approval of the removal of the low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) gasoline requirements in the Kansas City metro area, which allows for E15 fuel to be sold in the area year-round.
“The continued work by the state agencies to reduce ozone and improve air quality for the Kansas City region makes this possible,” said Acting EPA Region 7 Administrator Ed Chu. “We celebrate this accomplishment and will continue to work closely with both state agencies on all air quality and environmental issues to protect human health in Kansas City and throughout the region.”
The EPA announcement is good news for drivers, the environment, and the agriculture economy in both Kansas and Missouri, according to leaders from state corn associations.
“We thank our industry partners as well as KDHE and EPA for removing this regulation and paving the way for year-round E15 sales in the KC metro area. E15 is a cleaner burning, more cost-effective fuel that’s good for the environment and farmers, and adds fuel choice and savings for consumers,” said KCGA President Brent Rogers of Hoxie, Kan.
“This is great news for drivers in Kansas City,” said Jay Fischer, MCGA president and corn farmer from Jefferson City, Mo. “We appreciate the efforts of our partners and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in providing sound research to open the door for E15 in the Kansas City area. This decision allows drivers to fill up with a safe, cost-effective, higher octane, renewable fuel while helping improve air quality in the region.”
Kansas Corn and Missouri Corn worked with their state agencies on modeling studies. Those studies in both states showed no ozone exceedances are expected to occur in the Kansas City metro area due to E15 use.
Because E15 has a lower RVP than regular unleaded fuel, its use results in lower evaporative emissions, resulting in lower ozone levels, the pollutant of greatest concern in the Kansas City metro area. Blending more ethanol displaces and dilutes the most harmful hydrocarbon components in gasoline, such as aromatics. According to a recent USDA study, ethanol results in 43 percent fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than gasoline. Increasing ethanol blending from 10 percent to 15 percent further reduces GHG emissions.
E15 fuel is approved by EPA for use in almost every gas-powered vehicle on the road today. In fact, 97 percent of all miles driven are done with vehicles approved for E15. In 2019, EPA announced it would allow year-round sales of E15 fuel, which is approved for all gas-powered vehicles 2001 and newer. Since then, E15 availability and sales have rapidly increased in Kansas, Missouri, and across the U.S.