May 7, 2021 | Vol. 71, No. 9

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In This Issue
Dear PEI Member:

The comment period for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rulemaking on E15 dispenser labels and underground storage tank (UST) system compatibility ended April 19.

The EPA has not yet indicated if, how or when the rulemaking will proceed. One reason might be the scale of the industry’s response to the proposal. EPA received 2,297 submissions during the 90-day comment period. The longest (from Growth Energy) is 159 pages. Commenters represented ethanol advocacy groups, state regulators, the Department of Defense, UST component manufacturers, fuel marketers, major oil companies, auto and motorcycle dealers and PEI members.

After winnowing out duplicates and comments with confidential information, EPA posted for public viewing 89 representative submissions. PEI read every one.

Here’s a summary of what EPA will have to address—if the rulemaking proceeds in one form or another.

E15 Dispenser Labels
The proposed rulemaking offered two options for the current orange-and-black E15 dispenser label: eliminating the label altogether or modifying the label by:

  • Removing the “Attention” stripe;
  • Replacing “E15” with “contains up to 15% ethanol”;
  • Changing “Use only in” to “Safe for use in” when referencing E15-approved vehicles;
  • Changing “Don’t use in” to “Avoid use in” when referencing non-E15-approved uses;
  • Removing the bold and italic formatting from the word “Prohibited”;
  • Changing the color scheme to a softer blue, white and black.

Comments on EPA Ethanol Rulemaking

PEI Convention Registration Opens

Indiana Rejects Stricter E15 Labels

Some EV Owners Switch Back to Gasoline




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Soften the tone. Although few commenters endorsed elimination of the E15 label, ethanol advocates uniformly supported modifications similiar to those proposed by EPA. The bold colors and strong language of today’s label depress E15 sales, according to these stakeholders. Softer colors and friendlier language, they believe, would relieve the public’s fears and boost sales of the mid-level blend.

Make it stronger. Auto dealers and many state regulators recommended strengthening the label’s language. In support of this position, these commenters said: 

  • Consumers need more information to distinguish between E10 and E15.
  • The current wording conflicts with many automakers’ warranties.
  • E15 poses great risks to specialty, vintage and pre-2001 model year vehicles. And the number of vehicles unsuited for E15 remains large. In Nevada, for example, 15% of all light-duty vehicles are model year 2000 or older. In Virginia, it’s 10%.
  • Motorcycles should be added to the list of vehicles not approved for E15.

Among the “make the label stronger” crowd, one popular suggestion was changing the label’s header from “Attention” to “Warning.”

The Energy Marketers Association (EMA) requested language encouraging consumers to check their vehicle’s warranty for E15 compatibility. EMA also wants EPA to ban the term “Unleaded88” in E15 marketing and require that nozzles dispensing E15 be labeled accordingly.

NACS, SIGMA and NATSO said they have no problem with a stronger label, but recommended that fuel marketers be allowed to keep the current version if they prefer.

UST Ethanol Compatibility
The rulemaking proposes three steps to simplify E15 UST compatibility requirements today and pave the way for storage of higher ethanol blends in the future:

  • Secondary containment. Owners and operators would not be required to demonstrate compatibility of existing UST systems that (a) have secondarily contained tanks and piping and (b) use interstitial monitoring.
  • Already compatible tanks and piping. Owners and operators also would not be required to demonstrate compatibility for fiberglass-reinforced plastic piping or for steel and fiberglass tanks manufactured after July 2005.
  • New UST installations and replacements. Owners and operators storing over-the-road vehicle fuel would have to ensure that new UST systems and replaced UST components are compatible with ethanol blends up to 100%.

Ethanol advocacy groups uniformly approved of the loosened compatibility requirements. Stakeholders who questioned the proposals offered seven main objections:

  1. Confusion. The new rule needs more details, guidance and clarity on what owners and operators can, can’t and must do to meet the compatibility requirements.
  2. Legal restrictions. Under current law, E100 cannot be stored in USTs. So, why require owners and operators to make their systems compatible for such a product?
  3. Effectiveness. Secondary containment and interstitial monitoring will not prevent leaks in components outside the secondary containment (for example, spill buckets, release detection equipment and overfill devices).
  4. Costs. Most fueling sites do not have secondary containment and interstitial monitoring. Retrofitting would be cost prohibitive for many small marketers.
  5. Economic analysis. Rather than assuming required UST system upgrades would be affordable, the EPA should conduct a formal cost-benefit analysis.
  6. Listings and warranties. UL offers an E100 standard only for tanks and piping. Manufacturers of other components rarely test their equipment for E100. As a result, asking owners and operators to make their entire UST system E100 compatible is unrealistic. Several commenters suggested EPA base the compatibility requirements on E85, rather than E100. UL listings and manufacturer warranties are widely available for that lower blend level.
  7. Regulatory burdens. Enforcing compliance with the new compatibility proposals would impose undue burdens on state regulators.

Want More?
If you’d like to take a deeper dive, click below to read the complete comments of major fuel marketing and ethanol organizations.

The industry will come together once again — in person — for the 2021 PEI Convention at the NACS Show, Oct. 5-8 in Chicago.

Early bird discounts save $300 off the on-site rate. Group discounts are available for members that register four or more attendees at the same time. Register and learn more about the schedule, health and safety precautions, cancellation policies, housing options and more here

In related news, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on May 4 that her goal is to fully reopen the city by July 4. Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker also confirmed that Chicago’s first major 2021 event, the Chicago Auto Show, will be held July 15-19 at McCormick Place, the site of the 2021 PEI Convention at the NACS Show.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill requiring E15 fuel dispenser labels to include the statement “Attention: E15. Check owner’s manual for compatibility and warranty requirements.”

The governor’s April 26 veto message states, “The Environmental Protection Agency already mandates that all E15 pumps have a label clearly advising consumers of the possible implications of using the fuel in certain engines. I find this additional layer of government unnecessary and confusing."

Nearly 1 in 5 California consumers who purchased a battery electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) from 2012 to 2018 switched back to gasoline vehicles by 2019, according to a University of California-Davis study.

Two factors correlated most strongly with decisions to switch:

  • Having fewer household vehicles;
  • Dissatisfaction with charging convenience.

For BEV owners, the lack of at-home Level-2 charging was a particular source of dissatisfaction.

Discontinuation rates were 18.1% for BEV owners and 20.1% for PHEV owners. Some 4,167 consumers participated in the survey. The results have a 2%± margin of error.

The study’s authors noted that financial incentives, economical availability of at-home Level-2 charging, acquisition of additional household vehicles, battery range advances and other variables could cause purchasers who switched to gasoline to change their minds again. 

Growth Energy
hired longtime Sheetz executive Mike Lorenz as senior vice president of market development. Lorenz will oversee Growth Energy’s initiatives to expand the sale of higher ethanol blends worldwide.

JF Petroleum Group, a MidOcean Partners portfolio company, acquired New Orleans-based Rittiner Equipment Company Inc., a full-service provider of petroleum equipment, maintenance and construction services in the Gulf Coast region.

Lucas Ford Associates Inc. appointed Hunter East as a new sales associate, effective June 21. East, a recent graduate of Keiser University, will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Northwest Pump purchased the assets of Everett, Washington-based D.R. Smith Co. Inc., dba Air Compressor Service.

Petro Supply is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021. President and CEO Galen Heaps founded the Elkridge, Maryland-based distributor in 1971. Vice president and COO Brandon Heaps joined the company in 1999.

Petroleum Containment Inc (PCI) named Chris Cummings regional sales manager for Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas. PCI also named Renee Mackenzie regional sales and marketing manager for Michigan and Indiana.

Seneca Companies acquired petroleum service contractor Titan Fuel Systems of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Scott Cole, founder of Titan Fuel Services, will be branch manager for this new Seneca location.

Spanish affiliate.
Caldereria Terns, S. L., c/o Ramon Llull, 52, Seva, 08554, Spain, applied for affiliate division membership. Xavier Terns is managing director of the firm, which was established in 2002. Caldereria Terns, S. L. manufactures tanks, pressure vessels and mobile fueling stations. Sponsored for PEI membership by Bruno Boroewitsch, PetrolPlaza, Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany.

Mexican manufacturer representative. CTN, Lerdo de Tejada 1422 Ote. Torreón, 27000, Mexico, applied for affiliate division membership. Marco Tulio Sandoval Rodríguez is COO of the company, which was established in 2000. CTN offers IT solutions (hardware, software and services) for the fuel sector in Mexico. Sponsored for PEI membership by Pablo Gualdi, ATIO Group, Mexico City, Mexico.

Canadian affiliate. EcoTank Canada, 48 Centennial Road, Unit 21, Orangeville, Ontario, L9W 3T4, Canada applied for affiliate division membership. Robert Mair is president of the company, which was established in April 2020. EcoTank Canada manufactures an eco-friendly windshield fluid refilling solution. Sponsored for PEI membership by Allison Ramdial, CSC ServiceWorks, Burlington, Massachusetts.


  • Invenco, Roswell, Georgia (affiliate)
  • Wenzhou Bluesky Energy Technology Co. Ltd., Zhejiang, China (affiliate)
  • Link2pump, Miami, Florida (affiliate)
  • NVT Phybridge Inc., Oakville, Ontario, Canada (manufacturer)   
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The TulsaLetter is published two or three times each month by the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Richard C. Long, Editor. Opinions expressed are the opinions of the Editor.