Senator Mike Johanns today expressed disappointment with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement that it will delay making a decision on increasing the amount of ethanol allowed to be blended with gasoline. EPA opened a public comment period in April on the possibility of raising the limit from its current cap of 10 percent to as much as 15 percent. Since then, EPA has conducted ongoing tests to meet a December 1 deadline, yet still has not come to a decision.
"By raising the ethanol blend wall to 15 percent, we can provide a boost to corn growers and ethanol producers in Nebraska and across the country while decreasing our dependence on foreign oil," Johanns said. "These continued delays are part of a troubling pattern that calls into question this administration's commitment to our nation's growing renewable fuels industry. I am further concerned with how EPA would implement such a change, if and when it goes into effect. Having multiple gasoline pumps for vehicles with different makes and from different years could lead to a cumbersome, confusing process at the pump."
During the presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama stated he understands "firsthand the importance of continuing to increase the supply of biofuels in our national fuel supply." Delaying the approval of E15 will hinder the President's stated goal of increasing our country's biofuels supply.
• EPA indicates it will likely limit the scope of increasing the ethanol limit to vehicle models from the year 2001 and newer.
o EPA's data to date reportedly show no negative effects of increased ethanol in any vehicle, regardless of the year it was made.
• Trying to differentiate which fuels can be used for which cars could be confusing and dangerous for the consumer.
• If you have a flex fuel vehicle, you would need to go to one set of pumps (E85). If you have a car built before 2001, you'd need an entirely different set of pumps (E10). If you have a newer car, you might be required to go to an entirely different island of pumps (E15). Small gas stations appear to be getting a lot more confusing and congested under the Administration's plan.