EPA Holds Off on Allowing More Ethanol in Gasoline

Because increased ethanol content may cause more pollution and damage older vehicles, leading science group says the Environmental Protection Agency made the right call.
From the Union of Concerned Scientists
December 1, 2009
Add to My MSN

Most vehicles on the road today are not certified to operate on ethanol blends higher than 10 percent.
ISTOCKPHOTO/JONAS ENGSTROM


Content Tools

Related Content

Blume Distillation Offers Appropriate-Scale Distillation Equipment for Farmers and Communities

Blume Distillation debuts appropriate-scale biofuel distillation equipment that will allow farmers, ...

Husqvarna Launches Ethanol Challenge for Mower Owners

Husqvarna has issued the Ethanol Challenge in order to provide the tools for consumers to gain aware...

Goats: Eco-friendly Weed Whackers

Goats are a great way to get rid of weed problems while also reducing the use of chemicals and fossi...

Where is E85 Ethanol?

Odds are you've heard much more about E85 than you've actually seen of it.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to postpone approving any increase in the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline until it can determine its impact “puts science first,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). More ethanol in gasoline could increase tailpipe pollution or damage older vehicles, the group says.

Today’s EPA announcement was in response to a petition from Growth Energy, an ethanol industry group that had asked the agency to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline from the current level of 10 percent to 15 percent.

“The Obama administration is respecting the role of science and resisting industry pressure to put private interests ahead of public health and the environment,” says Jeremy Martin, a senior scientist in UCS’ Clean Vehicles Program. “Raising ethanol blend percentages without testing what it would do to air quality and vehicle engines is like going in for surgery before getting a diagnosis. It wouldn’t be good for the industry or the environment to rush ahead only to find out later that we guessed wrong.”

Most vehicles on the road today are not certified to operate on ethanol blends higher than 10 percent, Martin says. It is not clear how light-duty car engines or boat engines, for example, would perform with higher blends. The EPA and the Department of Energy are testing engines to answer this question.

Any decision by the agency to increase ethanol blend limits should be based on a complete analysis of how blends above 10 percent (E10) would affect gasoline engines, public health, the environment and consumers, Martin says. The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to demonstrate that increasing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline would not worsen air quality or threaten public health.


The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has offices in Berkeley, Calif., Chicago and Washington, D.C.







Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.