Issue Date: January 31, 2011
Ethanol Cap Raised For Gasoline
Gasoline with up to 15% ethanol can be sold for use in vehicles and trucks that were manufactured in 2001 and later, according to a recent EPA determination. Currently, gasoline with a maximum of 10% ethanol can be sold, and this cap remains in place for vehicles made in 2000 and earlier, EPA said on Jan. 21. Through testing, the agency found that a 15% ethanol blend will not damage emission-control equipment in newer cars, which is a determination required by the Clean Air Act. Encouraged by incentives in a 2007 energy law, U.S. farmers and ethanol refiners have increased biofuel production and are refining enough corn-based ethanol to meet the 10% cap. Virtually all U.S. ethanol is made from corn kernels, and ethanol draws down about one-third of the U.S. corn crop (C&EN, Sept. 13, 2010, page 20). Ethanol makers petitioned EPA in 2009 to increase the allowable percentage. However, more steps must come before the new fuel can be blended and sold, such as developing a system to identify modified gasoline at the pump. A mix of oil refiners and environmental organizations opposed to the EPA action has sued the agency over the rule.
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