EPA Expands Ethanol Decision

Published by: Antlers on 21st Jan 2011 | View all blogs by Antlers
EPA Expands Ethanol Decision

The US Environmental Protection Agency has expanded an October decision increasing the level of ethanol blended into gasoline.  The previous decision said that a 15 percent blend was safe for cars and light trucks made since 2007, and Friday's decision expanded the decision to include cars built between 201 and 2006.  Prior to October, the maximum level of ethanol allowed was 10 percent.

Ethanol is a very popular fuel in farm country because it is made from corn and other grains.  The decision has faced strong opposition, however, from environmentalists, cattle ranchers, food companies, the auto industry, and other groups.  Opponents claim that the use of corn to make ethanol drives up the prices of food and animal feed, in addition to tearing up the land.  There have already been a number of lawsuits challenging the EPA's October decision, mainly by manufacturers of autos, boats, and power equipment, claiming that the blend will cause damage to the engines they make.

Additionally, critics claim that drivers of older cars will be confused figuring out which pumps to use, and that many retailers will elect not to sell the new blend because of the cost of adding pumps and signs.  President Obama's administration has remained very supportive of the renewable fuel, and the EPA says that Congress can't mandate increased use of ethanol without higher blends.  Congress has already required refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels, mainly ethanol, into auto fuel by the year 2022.

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