US Congress blocks EPA from allowing a higer blend of ethanol in your gas tanks

Article by Christian A., on February 23, 2011

The U.S. House voted 286-135 to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from allowing a higher blend of ethanol in the nation's gas tanks. The House blocked the EPA from spending any money to carry out a waiver to permit E15 to be sold at the nation's fueling stations.

What gas stations sell now is E10, which is 10% ethanol. The EPA has granted a waiver to allow a blend of 15% of ethanol to be sold for vehicles from the 2001 model year and newer. To block EPA from moving ahead, Rep. John Sullivan, R-Oklahoma, introduced an amendment to the bill to fund government operations through Sept. 30.

Sullivan said that the EPA has ignored calls from lawmakers, industry, environmental and consumer groups to address important safety issues raised by the 50% increase in the ethanol mandate issued over the past year.

He said that adding E15 into the general fuel supply may have an adverse effect on as many as 60% of cars on the road today “leading to consumer confusion at the pump and possible engine failure in the cars they drive.”

The House approved a separate amendment that will end a tax subsidy so fuel stations could install pumps that can dispense varying amounts of gasoline and ethanol. One of those highly critical of the moves is the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade association representing ethanol producers.

The group said that it is a fact that ethanol is a thoroughly tested, safe, and effective motor fuel and that Americans spend almost $1 billion a day importing oil, “often from hostile regions of the world.” [via autonews - sub. required]

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