Washington, D.C. – American drivers will be able to buy gasoline containing a higher level of ethanol, after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waived a limitation that only permitted fuel containing 10 per cent ethanol.

The waiver applies to fuel containing up to 15 per cent ethanol, called E15, used in cars and light trucks 2007 and newer. This represents the first of a number of actions needed from federal, state and industry towards commercialization of E15. The EPA said that it made the decision after review of extensive testing by the Department of Energy (DOE) and other data on the impact of E15 on engine durability and emissions.

“Thorough testing has now shown that E15 does not harm emissions control equipment in newer cars and light trucks,” said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Wherever sound science and the law support steps to allow more homegrown fuels in America’s vehicles, this administration takes those steps.”

A decision on the use of E15 in vehicles 2001 to 2006 will be made after the EPA receives the results of additional testing expected to be completed in November. No waiver is being granted this year for E15 in cars and light trucks 2000 and older, or in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles or non-road engines, because there is not enough testing data to currently support such a waiver. Since 1979, gasoline containing up to 10 per cent ethanol has been used for all conventional cars and light trucks, and non-road vehicles.

Several steps are being taken to help consumers easily identify the correct fuel for their vehicles and equipment. The EPA is proposing E15 pump labelling requirements, including a requirement that the fuel industry specify the ethanol content of gasoline sold to retailers. A quarterly survey of retail stations would help ensure that gas pumps are properly labelled.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandated an increase in the overall volume of renewable fuels into the marketplace reaching a 36 billion gallon total in 2022.

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