Saturday, December 5, 2009

Governors Urge EPA to Move Forward on E15 Waiver: Interim Ruling a Step in the Right Direction

/PRNewswire/ -- Governors John Hoeven and Chet Culver, chair and vice-chair of the 36-member Governors' Biofuels Coalition, today (December 4) said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's announcement will likely allow higher ethanol blends, such as E15, and is a step in the right direction. At the same time, they urged the agency to move forward with the waiver as quickly as possible.

The Governors' Biofuels Coalition first called for research and testing on the efficacy of utilization of intermediate ethanol blends - E13 to E20 - in 2005. Hoeven and Culver acknowledged that the EPA signaled the possibility of allowing the use of E15 in all vehicles manufactured after 2001, reflecting the rapidly emerging capacity of newer vehicles to utilize a wide range of liquid fuels.

The two governors also called "significant" EPA's announcement that it would initiate a fuel pump labeling process to ensure that consumers use the proper gasoline for their vehicles and equipment should the use of ethanol blends greater than 10 percent be ultimately approved. Although the EPA labeling initiative seems to signify that further research data expected by May will corroborate these early findings about E15, they urged that any labeling scheme should make access to E15 convenient and simple. They said it should encourage consumers to use blended fuel as part of their normal gas purchases, and one way to accomplish that is with blender pumps, which allow consumers to choose the blend appropriate to their vehicles at the pump.

Jointly, the governors said: "The EPA's final approval of an E15 blend will help to attract the necessary private investment to support the next generation of biofuels, and will usher in an expanded role for advanced biofuels in the transportation fuels market. That will benefit the rural economy, the environment and the nation."

Ethanol's contribution to the American economy at the E10 blend level is well documented by a 2009 study. "In 2008, ethanol displaced the need for 321 million barrels of oil or roughly 5 percent of U.S. oil imports valued at $32 billion - money that stayed in the U.S. economy and supported 494,000 jobs," said Governor Hoeven. "The move to E15 will not only expand the economic and environmental value of biofuels, it will diminish the impact of future gasoline price spikes on consumers," said Governor Culver.

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