October 14, 2010

EPA Ups Ethanol Standard For Newer Cars

A US agency Wednesday pulled the cap off the amount of ethanol gas companies were allowed to blend into their gasoline for vehicles for the first time in more than 30 years, as it pushes toward energy independence.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in response to a request from the ethanol industry, said it would allow vehicle fuel to be mixed with up to 15 percent ethanol, up from the previous 10 percent, which was known as the E10 standard.

The new E15 standard will apply to cars and light-duty trucks built since 2007, said the EPA.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson increased the standard after the Department of Energy (DoE) performed extensive testing and reviewing of data on what impact E15 would have on engine durability and emissions, the agency said in a statement.

DoE has found that "E15 does not harm emissions control equipment in newer cars and light trucks," Jackson said, adding that "wherever sound science and the law support steps to allow more home-grown fuels in America's vehicles, this administration takes those steps."

Green energy activist group, Growth Energy, along with more than 50 ethanol manufacturers, filed a petition with the EPA in March 2009 seeking the increase in ethanol standard from E10 to E15.

The group argued that the increase would create as many as 136,000 new jobs in the United States and could eliminate more than 20 million tons of greenhouse-gas emissions from the air in a year.

It could also help to displace some of the 12 million barrels of oil that is imported into the US every single day, the group said.

Once further DoE testing comes in for the use of E15 in vehicles manufactured from 2001 to 2006, the EPA could widen the release of E15 to include those vehicles as well. DoE testing is expected to be completed in November.

No waiver would be granted this year for E15 use in any vehicles from model year 2000 and older, due to the current lack of testing data to support such a waiver.


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