Law & Order

Federal Government Proposes Ethanol Reduction

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledged that a 2007 federal law sets unrealistic mandates on the amount of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires an increasing amount of biofuel be blended into gasoline each year, from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022. However, nearly all gasoline sold in the United States contains up to 10% ethanol (E10) and there is widespread opposition to increasing that amount to 15% (E15). For the first time since the RFS became law in 2009, the EPA is lowering the targeted amount of ethanol blended in gasoline.

With advances in vehicle fuel economy and as cars are being driven less, the United States has hit the “E10 blend wall.” SEMA has joined with a number of other organizations representing a variety of industries in asking Congress to repeal or scale-back the RFS biofuel mandates and to ban the sale of E15. While the EPA has approved E15 for use in ’01 and newer vehicles, the agency made it illegal to use in older vehicles for fear of equipment damage. However, the EPA only requires a gas pump warning label for unsuspecting consumers. Ethanol can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers, especially in older cars that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials. Congress has held a number of hearings on the RFS and E15 and is expected to consider legislation to reduce ethanol mandates in 2014. 

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