Petroleum Institute Study Lists Obstacles to E15 Use

With an Environmental Protection Agency decision expected by mid-October on increasing the maximum ethanol blend for conventional engines for cars 2007 and newer, a new study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute finds that multiple regulatory and legal requirements remain before higher ethanol blends can be legally marketed.

With an Environmental Protection Agency decision expected by mid-October on increasing the maximum ethanol blend for conventional engines for cars 2007 and newer, a new study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute finds that multiple regulatory and legal requirements remain before higher ethanol blends can be legally marketed.

The report was prepared by Sierra Research, a 30-year-old consulting firm that specializes in air quality and air pollution control issues.

The report lists nine different requirements that must be met before the ethanol blend level can be increased from the current 10 to 15 percent. Those requirements include such things as a Clean Air Act waiver; registration of the fuel with EPA; changes to EPA reformulated gasoline regulations; and changes to EPA gasoline detergent additive regulations.

While Matt Hartwig with the Renewable Fuels Association agrees that those actions need to be taken before the fuel can be marketed, he disagrees that EPA should wait until they are all completed before the agency can approve the use of increased ethanol blends.

"Those things need to be done and we're already working on them" said Hartwig. "They can attempt to drag their feet until the cows come home but it won't change the fact that E15 is a safe and effective fuel for vehicle use. Instead of constantly referring to the few challenges that can easily be overcome, it would be far more effective for Big Oil to work with ethanol producers to address them in a timely fashion. That is, assuming they truly want to act in the best interests of American consumers." 

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