Ethanol manufacturers petition EPA for higher-ethanol gas

06 March 2009 22:56  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--Industry groups representing ethanol manufacturers petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday to approve motor gasoline blends that allow up to 15% ethanol, up from the current 10%.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Growth Energy, the American Coalition for Ethanol, the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, and others requested the waiver from EPA to boost the US ethanol industry.

"We believe that comprehensive testing and sound science will demonstrate that increasing ethanol content in gasoline above 10% can be done with little if any impact on existing vehicle technologies," RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said in a statement.

The approval would help ensure the development of a "a robust domestic ethanol industry", Dinneen said, calling for an immediate move to gasoline with 12% ethanol (E12) as a move toward gasoline with 15% ethanol (E15).

But another group cautioned EPA to undertake a careful scientific review of the request to add more ethanol to gasoline used in automobiles and other engine-driven machines.

"American motorists and consumers cannot afford to have EPA's decision on whether to permit the use of ethanol blends higher than 10% in motor vehicle and smaller engines be guided by any factor other than sound and unbiased science," a coalition of 13 organisations and trade associations wrote to the EPA.

The coalition warned that more alcohol in motor fuel could damage motor vehicle and equipment engines, fuel systems, storage tanks and pollution control equipment. Tests to date suggest that mid-level blends of gasoline with ethanol could be incompatible with motor engines and could lead to increased emissions from those engines, said the group, which includes the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA).

Mid-level ethanol blends also could corrode engine safety features and trigger engine failures, the group said, jeopardising the safety of motorists and other consumers.

Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels

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By: Mickey McCarter
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