15 June 2010 06:29 [Source: ICIS news]
ST. LOUIS, Missouri (ICIS news)--US ethanol maker POET expects the US will allow higher ethanol blends in gasoline, chief executive Jeff Broin said on Monday, predicting regulators will soon approve an increase to a 15% mix known as E15 (see video below).
The US now limits ethanol blending in gasoline to 10%. Ethanol makers are campaigning against the cap due to fears the US will soon become awash with ethanol as production of the biofuel grows.
POET, the largest US ethanol producer, has spearheaded an aggressive campaign seeking an increase in the blend cap through an association with Growth Energy, a US-based ethanol advocacy group.
Broin is a co-chairman at Growth Energy alongside with retired US general Wesley Clark, a former US presidential candidate and high-profile ethanol advocate.
"The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is very close to a decision on E15," Broin said on the sidelines of the annual Fuel Ethanol Workshop in St. Louis, Missouri.
“We believe there is plenty of science to move to E15,” he said, downplaying the notion that the government would increase the blend in only gradual steps due to uncertainty over the impact it may have on vehicle engines.
"Quite frankly, that would just cause as many legal issues as a move to E15," the executive said.
US car makers and the oil industry have sought to slow down or halt higher blending levels for ethanol. The automobile manufacturers are particularly worried about claims on vehicle warranties due to damage to engine components from ethanol.
Broin said the US ethanol industry has substantially recovered from a financial crisis in early 2009, when oversupply and high corn prices forced many ethanol makers to shut down.
“We are much better shaped this year than a year ago,” he said.
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