EPA expects to approve new ethanol blend by mid-2010
In a letter sent to the ethanol lobbying group, Growth Energy, the EPA has announced that preliminary testing of 15% ethanol blends shows the higher ethanol content seems to work well in cars built after 2001 and the agency is likely to approve E15 "in the midyear timeframe" of 2010.
The letter, released today by Growth Energy, was welcomed as a positive sign by the group but not by the Renewable Fuels Association, which is urging EPA to approve 12% blends immediately until the EPA decides if it will approve E15.
"This announcement is a strong signal that we are preparing to move to E15, a measure that will create 136,000 new U.S. jobs, cut greenhouse gas emissions and lessen Americaâ€™s dependence on imported oil," said General Wesley Clark, Co-Chairman of Growth Energy. Growth Energy petitioned the EPA to increase the blend level of ethanol in gasoline from the current 10% to 15%. Higher blend levels are seen as necessary to reach higher biofuel use mandated by a 2007 energy law.
"In order to avoid paralysis by analysis, EPA should immediately approve intermediate ethanol blends, such as E12," said RFA CEO Bob Dinneen. "Allowing for a 20% increase in ethanol's potential share of the market would provide some breathing room for the industry while EPA finishes its testing on E15. Additionally, it would represent a good faith gesture that underscores the commitment President Obama has pledged to biofuels."
Dinneen also said there is no evidence that EPA would hurt older vehicles and that E15 should not be limited to newer cars.