The government should move quickly to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline, said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, speaking to a group of farmers at the National Farmers Union Annual Convention in Arlington, Va., on Monday.

Ethanol producers asked the Environmental Protection Agency last week to increase the amount of ethanol that refiners can blend with gasoline from a maximum of 10% to 15%, which could boost the demand for the renewable fuel additive by as much as 6 billion gallons a year, reported the Associated Press. However, automobile and small engine manufacturers have said there's no certainty, yet, that such an increase will not harm engines and fuel lines.


"We can, we believe, move fairly quickly to move the blend rate to 12% or 13% in the interim," Vilsack said, adding that it could eventually be boosted to 15% or 20%.

However, it is up to the Environmental Protection Agency to lift the cap. Adora Andy, the EPA's press secretary, said in a statement Friday that the agency will review the request and "act based on the best available science."