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National Conference on Weights and Measures Tackles Ethanol Flex Fuel Labeling


During the week of July 15, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) held its annual meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On the agenda were items regarding ethanol flex fuel labeling, tightening the acceptable UST water tolerance level, requiring a dispenser number on a receipt, and skimming issues.

Ethanol Flex Fuel Labeling
There were two proposed revisions to Handbook 130 relating to ethanol flex fuel (E10 plus blends) labeling at the dispenser. These revisions require E15 dispensers to comply with both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) labeling requirements for ethanol flex fuels and the EPA labeling requirements for E15. This is a requirement that PMAA championed in past meetings to eliminate confusion on the labeling requirements for E15 and minimize the potential for violations of the Clean Air Act and possible fines. These revisions were moved to a voting item by the Laws and Regulation Committee during the NCWM interim meeting in January and approved by the voting members at the annual meeting last week. In addition to EPA labeling requirements, PMAA continues to work to address the lack of specific requirements for the terms used to describe E15 as well as other higher ethanol blends. This is an issue that PMAA will continue to pursue as part of several other proposed changes that are being considered by the Fuels and Lubricants Subcommittee.

UST Water Tolerance Level
A proposal aimed at reducing the water tolerance level in USTs from 1 inch to ¼ inch was withdrawn by the submitter. The proposed changes would have required a water tolerance level of ¼ inch for any gasoline containing ethanol.

Dispenser Number on a Receipt
A proposal to require an alpha or numeric dispenser designation to either be printed or hand written on a receipt was approved by the Conference.

Skimming Devices
Skimming continues to be addressed by the Specifications and Tolerance Committee. This item has been designated as an Assigned Item for development by the Committee. A Skimmer Task Group is working on this issue; however, no specific proposals have been put forward. There was substantial discussion relative to this item. PMAA will continue to follow this issue.

One additional item voted on and approved by the Committee were changes to Chapter G, Uniform Engine Fuels and Automotive Lubricants Regulation, of Handbook 130 to address inconsistencies, update information to be consistent with federal laws and regulations, ASTM and other consensus-based standards, and remove obsolete provisions. PMAA expressed concerns that while ethanol flex fuels are defined as blends of ethanol and hydrocarbons, revisions to the fuel specifications might make it difficult to discern when a gasoline is a flex fuel since the ASTM standards referenced only apply to ethanol flex fuels greater than 16 percent ethanol. This is an issue that PMAA will continue to pursue as part of several other proposed changes that are being considered by the Fuels and Lubricants Committee.

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