The National Corn Growers Association today recognized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision allowing higher blends of ethanol in vehicles from the 2007 model year and newer as a tentative first step that needs to be followed immediately with more action.
“We’re disappointed in the very limited scope of this approval, but pleased the EPA has finally taken action to partially approve the waiver request to allow higher blends of ethanol in some motor vehicles,” said NCGA President Bart Schott, a grower in Kulm, N.D. “We believe this bifurcation of the approval process, and the labels that are expected to be placed on higher-blend fuel pumps, can lead to general consumer confusion and therefore act counter to the original intent.”
By proceeding along this path, EPA’s decision casts an unnecessary shadow on all ethanol blend levels, Schott added. Blends up to E-15 and beyond have been tested and found suitable for a wide range of newer and older vehicles.
Last month, the automotive engineering firm Ricardo found that moving from 10 percent ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent will mean little, if any, change in the performance of older cars and light trucks, those manufactured between 1994 and 2000.
This study analyzed the vehicles manufactured by six companies and that represent 25 percent of light duty vehicles on the road today, concluded “that the adoption and use of E-15 in the motor vehicle fleet from the studied model years should not adversely affect these vehicles or cause them to perform in a suboptimal manner when compared with their performance using the E-10 blend that is currently available.
“We strongly urge the EPA and the Department of Energy to expedite their remaining testing and cut through bureaucracy to quickly approve the E-15 blend for all vehicles,” Schott said. “Consumers deserve clarity.
“The National Corn Growers Association looks forward to working with EPA, the U.S. departments of Energy and Agriculture, and the ethanol industry to bring higher blends of ethanol to all – providing a cleaner environment, increased energy security, more jobs throughout our economy, and real fuel choice to consumers.”
Research on the safety of higher blends for older and newer vehicles can be found at http://www.ncga.com/tested.