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EPA Grants Waiver to Allow Higher Ethanol Blends in Gasoline for Newer Vehicles

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has granted a waiver allowing for gasoline to be mixed with up to 15 percent ethanol for vehicles of model year 2007 and newer. Currently, only 10 percent ethanol can be blended with gasoline.

There has been an ongoing fight behind the scenes for months on the issue, with the ethanol industry arguing for high ethanol blends and others, including the oil industry, raising questions about the impact of higher ethanol blends on engines and the possibility that consumers will “misfuel’ by putting E15 in vehicles made before 2007.

In order to assuage these concerns, EPA is making efforts to properly label E15 pumps. According to a statement from the agency:

Additionally, several steps are being taken to help consumers easily identify the correct fuel for their vehicles and equipment. First, EPA is proposing E15 pump labeling requirements, including a requirement that the fuel industry specify the ethanol content of gasoline sold to retailers. There would also be a quarterly survey of retail stations to help ensure their gas pumps are properly labeled.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made her decision after reviewing testing by the Department of Energy on the impact of higher ethanol blends on engines and their impact on greenhouse gas emissions. EPA says it will make a decision on granting such a waiver on model year 2001-2007 vehicles, but it will not grant a waiver this year for vehicles made before 2001.

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