Tuesday, November 23, 2010

EPA reportedly delays E15 decision on older vehicles

The US Environmental Protection Agency reportedly has delayed making a decision on the use of gasoline with 15% ethanol in cars and pickup trucks built from 2001 to 2006.

As of Nov. 23, Oil & Gas Journal had received no official statement from EPA regarding the delay as reported by some other media outlets.

The American Petroleum Institute greeted the reported delay as welcomed news while the Renewable Fuels Association expressed disappointment.

RFA Pres. and Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen encouraged EPA to extend due diligence to testing for all cars and pickups, regardless of age. RFA is a trade association for the US ethanol industry.

“We believe the fuel testing to date clearly demonstrates the efficacy of E15 as a motor fuel for all light-duty vehicles," Dinneen said.

API Downstream Director Bob Greco said API previously suggested EPA should extend its review 6 months or more to allow scientific testing to be completed on the effects of E15 on the engines of older vehicles.

He noted the US oil and natural gas industry is the biggest consumer of ethanol and other biofuels.

“We support a realistic and workable Renewable Fuel Standard and the responsible introduction of increased biofuels in a manner that protects consumers,” Greco said. “However, rushing to allow more ethanol before we know it is safe could be disastrous for consumers and could jeopardize the future of renewable fuels."

On Oct. 13, EPA partially waived its 10% limit on ethanol, allowing up to 5% more for model year 2007 or newer cars and light trucks. DOE said testing was under way on E15’s use in 2001-06 model year vehicles, and the agency had expected to announce a decision this month. But as of Nov. 19, that decision reportedly has been delayed for up to 30 days.

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