Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should delay action on a proposal to allow higher levels of ethanol in gasoline, according to officials from three industry groups. The Auto Alliance, the American Petroleum Institute and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute said that higher levels of ethanol have not been proven safe or effective, based on preliminary results of testing.

The groups said the auto and oil industries have spent more than US$6 million over the last two years, in addition to government funds, testing engine performance and durability of higher-ethanol fuels, as well as testing storage and dispensing of fuels with 15 per cent ethanol (E15). Currently, the EPA allows fuels to contain a maximum of 10 per cent ethanol (E10).

In a statement, the three groups said, “As the EPA proceeds with important decisions about ethanol and biofuel blend rates, it is imperative that those decisions be made with the end user market in mind. These decisions will have real-world impacts and we urge the EPA to refrain from setting a premature deadline that ignores reliable, scientific data about the effects of higher ethanol blends on emissions, durability and consumer safety. We remain committed to finding the right market solutions for renewable fuels and look forward to continuing our work with the EPA on this matter.”

“The impacts of higher ethanol blends will fall on consumers, who will be ill-prepared to determine the right fuel for their car, lawn equipment, boat or motorcycle,” said Al Jessel, senior fuels policy advisor for Chevron. “EPA should delay changing the gasoline mix in this country until research into all aspects of vehicle and engine performance is complete.”

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