US EPA unlikely to rule on ethanol blend until mid-2010 - RFA

03 November 2009 11:51  [Source: ICIS news]

PARIS (ICIS news)--The US is unlikely to make a decision on allowing ethanol blends in gasoline higher than 10% until next year due to the need to research the issue further, a US ethanol group said on Tuesday.

Automakers will need more time to look into the impact of higher ethanol blends on catalytic converters, which will probably not be completed until mid-2010, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

The US ethanol industry has asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve ethanol blends in gasoline of up to 15%, arguing the increase will provide additional environmental benefits and not affect vehicle performance.

“The 10% limit is a capricious standard,” said RFA president Bob Dinneen during a presentation at FO Licht’s World Ethanol 2009 conference in Paris, France.

According to Dinneen, the EPA has already allowed blends of 12% in the past, when ethanol was blended in gasoline at 10%, on top of 2% of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

“We are hopeful the administration will take that interim step,” Dinneen said, referring to a blend increase of at least up to 12%.

The EPA is scheduled to address the issue by 1 December.

Ethanol critics have opposed higher biofuel blends, claiming the increase can hurt vehicle performance and damage engines in a number of outdoor equipment, including boats.

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By: William Lemos
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