The EPA yesterday approved a request by Growth Energy, and ethanol industry trade group, to increase the amount of ethanol blended into regular unleaded gasoline from 10 to a maximum of 15%. The approval of the ‘green jobs waiver’ will allow companies to blend up to 15% ethanol into motor vehicle fuel creating a blend known as E-15.
The new standard applies only to 2007 and newer model cars and trucks. EPA is expected to decide whether to approve E15 for vehicles 2001 to 2006 in November.
According to Growth Energy, the group that proposed the new standard, the decision is the first move to help eliminate the ‘blend wall’ or the point at which no more ethanol can be used by the U.S. fleet due to the arbitrary 10% blend limit.
“Today’s approval of E15 for newer vehicles is the first crack in the blend wall in more than 30 years, and proves what was laid out in Growth Energy’s Green Jobs Waiver – that E15 is a good fuel for American motorists. And while this is an important first step, there are many more steps we can take toward strengthening our national security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil, creating jobs here in the United States and improving our environment,” Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, said.
The existing E10 standard – which permits up to 10 percent ethanol blended into fuel – was set in the 1970s to help spur the growth of a domestic, renewable fuels industry in answer to America’s first major oil crisis, engineered by OPEC. In March 2009, Growth Energy filed a petition with EPA to permit the raising of that regulatory cap on the ethanol blend from 10 percent to 15 percent.
Growth Energy says that removing the E-10 limit would create more than 136,000 new jobs and would inject $24.4 billion into the U.S. economy annually.
Colorado Farm Bureau supports raising the blend wall for all model vehicles.