Iowa Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal Division

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Flammable & Combustible Liquids Section


Listing (Certification) of Dispensing Equipment for E-85:
No Immediate Iowa Impact

Underwriters Laboratory (UL) recently announced that they were suspending authorization to use UL Markings on components for fuel dispensing devices that "specifically reference compatibility with alcohol blended fuels which contain greater than 15 percent alcohol." Rules of the Fire Marshal generally require that any equipment used to dispense motor vehicle fuel be "listed" by Underwriters Laboratory or another independent testing laboratory for use with that fuel. UL's action has received a lot of publicity, but it will have no immediate impact on dispensing of E-85 in Iowa.

In 2005, the State Fire Marshal, working in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the renewable fuels industry, developed rules which allow dispensing of E-85 with equipment which is not listed by an independent testing laboratory for such use, provided that certain requirements are met. These rules were initially effective until July 1, 2007 and have been extended until July 1, 2009 by language contained in 2006 Iowa Acts, Hose File 2754, enacted by the Iowa General Assembly this year and signed by Governor Vilsack.

Iowa has been a leader in the development and marketing of motor vehicle fuels which combine petroleum products with products derived from crops. Leading examples are ethanol, with gasoline combined with alcohol derived from corn, and soy diesel fuel.

In the fall of 2005, the Fire Marshal worked in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to develop rules and inspection protocols to facilitate the growth of the use of "E-85" (gasoline combined with corn-based alcohol with the alcohol making up as much as 85 percent of the blend; traditional ethanol contains 10 percent alcohol).

Two difficulties needed to be overcome: National Fire Protection Association standards used by the Fire Marshal in regulating flammable and combustible liquids generally allow dispensing of motor vehicle fuels only from equipment which is "listed" (approved) by an independent testing laboratory. However, E-85 was new to the market and no equipment was listed for dispensing it. In addition, the Fire Marshal's Flammable Liquids Section did not have sufficient staff to inspect facilities which would be dispensing E-85.

The Fire Marshal adopted an amendment to the standard for dispensing of motor vehicle fuel (rule 661--51.202(101)), which reads as follows:

Add the following new section:

  • 6.9 Dispensing of E–blend.
  • 6.9.1 Definitions.
    • “E–10” means a blend of petroleum and ethanol including no more than 10 percent ethanol intended for use as a motor vehicle fuel.
    • “E–blend” means a blend of petroleum and ethanol including more than 10 percent ethanol intended for use as a motor vehicle fuel.
  • 6.9.2 Requirements for equipment dispensing E–blend prior to July 1, 2007.
    Prior to July 1, 2007, E–blend may be dispensed from equipment listed for use with gasoline or E–10, provided that the equipment is fully in compliance with all requirements for use in dispensing gasoline or E–10 if the manufacturer states:
  1. That the equipment is, in the opinion of the manufacturer, not incompatible with E–blend, and
  2. The manufacturer has initiated the process of applying to an independent testing laboratory for listing of the equipment for use in dispensing E–blend.
    “Manufacturer states” means that the manufacturer has provided a written statement, with reference to a particular type and model of equipment, signed by a responsible official on behalf of the manufacturer either to the retail outlet using the dispensing equipment or to the fire marshal. If the written statement is provided to a retail outlet, the written statement shall be retained in the files on the premises of the retail outlet and shall be available to personnel of the fire marshal division or the department of natural resources on request.
  • 6.9.3 Retail outlets which had been dispensing E–blend prior to August 1, 2005. A retail outlet which had been dispensing E–blend prior to August 1, 2005, may continue to do so until July 1, 2007, with existing equipment provided that:
  1. The dispensing equipment fully complies with the requirements established in NFPA 30A for dispensing E–10.
  2. The dispensing equipment has not been found by the manufacturer or an independent testing laboratory to be incompatible with the dispensing of E–blend.
  • 6.9.4 Requirements for equipment dispensing E–blend on or after July 1, 2007. On or after July 1, 2007, any equipment used to dispense E–blend shall be listed for dispensing E–blend.

The intent of this language is to facilitate the dispensing of E-85, while ensuring the safety of dispensing facilities.

During the 2006 session of the Iowa General Assembly, the enactment of 2006 Iowa Acts, House File 2754 resulting in extending the date by which listed equipment will be required for dispensing E-85 to July 1, 2009. The Fire Marshal has adopted an amendment, which will become effective on March 1, 2007, to administrative rule 661--51.202(101) to implement this change.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources have entered into a 28E agreement which allows DNR inspectors who inspect a fueling site which is dispensing E-85 to enforce rules of the Fire Marshal as well as DNR rules. A checklist was developed by staff of the Fire Marshal Division to assist DNR staff in this effort.

Further information regarding regulation of E-85 dispensing and storage may be obtained from the Web site of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at

Additional information about ethanol and other renewable fuels may be obtained from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

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Created: 02-07-2006
Last Updated: 05-07-2010 (JLR)