EPA Trims Ethanol Requirement in Gasoline
November 18, 2013 10:59 AM
The EPA will hold a public hearing and take comments for 60 days before the 2014 requirements are finalized
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) is challenging a 2007 energy law in regards to the amount of ethanol that should be blended with gasoline next year.
According to a report from
The Detroit News
, the EPA wants to lower the amount of corn-based ethanol -- as well as other biofuels -- required to be blended with gasoline from 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons next year.
The 2007 energy law passed by Congress aimed for 18.15 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended with gasoline in 2014. But this number was based on the expectation that the consumption of gasoline in the U.S. would continue rising over the years, and instead, it's remained pretty "flat," mainly due to a weak economy, hefty gas prices and fuel-efficient vehicles.
It's important to note that the Renewable Fuels Standard sets requirements for how much of an increase in ethanol and other biofuels can be blended into gasoline by total gallons, not as a percentage of the fuel each year.
The EPA will hold a public hearing and take comments for 60 days before the 2014 requirements are finalized.
Automakers and drivers have worried that fuel with higher ethanol blends (such as
, which consists of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) could permeate and degrade rubber, plastic, metal and other materials in older vehicles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of E15 for 2001 model year vehicles and newer, and automakers like Volkswagen AG, General Motors and Ford have even approved it for some of their latest models. But those with older models could see some real problems with E15.
E10 (10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline) is currently the standard at most gas stations in the U.S., but some -- like the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which consists of Detroit’s Big Three, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp. and others -- feel that increasing the amount of ethanol to E15 could be problematic without proper testing. In fact, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said just last week that the EPA was
pushing E15 onto the market
much too quickly.
AAA also called on the EPA to
put a stop to E15
because of its potential danger to older vehicles back in December 2012. AAA celebrated the EPA's latest decision.
“The EPA’s proposal to decrease ethanol requirements will help drivers by preventing a surge in gas prices or the premature expansion of E15 gasoline sales. While we would like to increase the use of alternative fuels, it is a plain fact that the Renewable Fuels Standard’s original targets are unreachable without putting motorists and their vehicles at risk,” said Bob Darbelnet, AAA president and CEO.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has tried to
defend the use of ethanol
, and even released a report back in September that said American consumers are paying between 50 cents and $1.50 per gallon less for gasoline due to the addition of ethanol blends. The report also said that consumers are saving from $700 billion to about $2.6 trillion annually on gas because of ethanol, and that oil prices would be $15 to $40 a barrel higher than they are today without the added ethanol.
The Detroit News
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