Retailers could begin selling E15 as early as this summer, the Renewable Fuels Association said this week following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the first 24 registration applications for E15 ethanol from 20 companies. However, ethanol producers and retailers must demonstrate compliance with local regulations and mis-fueling mitigation plans before E15 can be legally sold.

EPA approved the ethanol industry’s plan to prevent mis-fueling on March 15, 2012.  EPA has also granted two partial waivers under the Clean Air Act allowing use of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol for model year 2001 and newer vehicles in response to requests from ethanol producers.  In February, EPA said the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy had satisfied the emissions and health effects testing requirements for registering E15 as an acceptable fuel under the Clean Air Act.

The White House has set a goal of helping fueling station operators install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years to spur production of E15.  To facilitate this goal, USDA last year began funding a program to install the blender pumps for biofuels in gasoline.   Reacting to EPA’s announcement this week, the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group for the oil industry, chided EPA for a “headlong rush to allow more ethanol in gasoline.”  The organization said more testing was needed before permitting E15 in the fuel market.