US needs uniform standard for higher ethanol blends - official

22 February 2011 17:52  [Source: ICIS news]

Car running on ethanol blendPHOENIX (ICIS)--The US needs a uniform standard for the roll-out of higher ethanol blends, a government official said on Tuesday, citing rules in several states that cap ethanol blending at 10%.

Some states limit blending at 10%, even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given approval for higher blends, said Randy Jennings, regulatory fuels administrator with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, in a speech at the 16th National Ethanol Conference in Phoenix.

The EPA recently authorised the use of 15% ethanol (E15) blends for vehicles manufactured in or after 2001.

Although E15 is allowed on the federal level, Jennings estimated that 18-22 states in the US still limit blending to 10%.

A large US ethanol producer attending the conference pointed to the difference in state rules as its main concern for the industry's outlook.

“This is what keeps me up at night,” the producer said, citing rules in some US states that would not require ethanol to be blended in gasoline if the biofuel costs the same as gasoline.

The push for higher ethanol blends in the US has drawn fire from biofuel critics, which claim increased levels of ethanol in gasoline could damage vehicle engines and harm performance.

Despite the obstacles, Jennings was optimistic a roll-out of E15 would take place eventually.

“There is a lot to be accomplished, and a lot will happen,” he said.

The two-day conference was organised by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

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By: William Lemos
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