Washington, D.C. – A number of U.S. environmental and industry groups are launching a joint campaign calling on government officials to require thorough and objective scientific testing before allowing an increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline.

Raising concerns about consumer safety and environmental protection, the groups want Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject calls by some in the ethanol industry to allow an increase of up to 50 per cent ethanol in gasoline.

Most gasoline in the U.S. contains 10 per cent ethanol (E10); some ethanol lobbyists are seeking to boost that to 15 per cent (E15) or a compromise to 12 per cent (E12). The groups in opposition to higher levels without adequate testing have posted their ads and other materials on a new Web site, FollowtheScience.

The groups say that ethanol burns hotter than gasoline and corrodes soft metals, plastics and rubber, and that more testing is needed to determine how much ethanol is too much for different types of existing engines to use safely without risk of engine failure.

“Some ethanol companies want consumers to pump first and ask questions later,” said Charles Dreva, president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association. “Rather than run a giant science experiment on the vehicles and gasoline-powered equipment owned by just about every American family, we believe Congress and the EPA have a responsibility to protect the public. They shouldn’t authorize E15 unless full and complete scientific testing confirms it’s safe and compatible with all gasoline-powered engines.”

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