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IFB hails EPA decision to expand demand for E15 blend levels

January 23, 2011

BLOOMINGTON— The Illinois Farm Bureau welcomes Friday’s announcement by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it has approved a higher blend of ethanol in gasoline for use in cars and trucks produced since 2001. 

Recently completed testing and data analysis show 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 home-grown fuels in America’s vehicles, this administration takes those steps

 The ruling would allow up to a 15% ethanol blend (E15) for use in cars and pickups, which is an increase from the previously allowed 10% blend.  An October 2010 EPA ruling approved E-15 for vehicles made since 2007, but held back on approval for 2001 and newer vehicles, pending additional testing.  Friday’s announcement means nearly two out of three vehicles on the road today are approved to use E-15.

“This morning’s (Friday’s) announcement is an excellent step toward increased ethanol production and usage in the United States,” said Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson.  “A bigger market for ethanol means more American jobs, a better environment, and improved national security as we begin to move away from dependence on foreign petroleum,” Nelson said.

There are estimates that moving to E15 will create more than 136,000 new jobs in the U.S.; inject $24.4 billion into the nation’s economy; avoid the importation of almost seven billion gallons of gasoline each year; and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by as much as 59%.  United States Department of Agriculture estimates also point to 20-to-35-cent-per-gallon higher gasoline prices without ethanol.

“Due to overseas growth, energy supplies worldwide are under increased pressure,” said Illinois Farm Bureau Senior Economist Mike Doherty.  “With the specter of $100-plus-per-barrel oil, and a return to high gasoline prices, this approval of domestic fuel production and consumption makes economic sense for the U.S.,” Doherty said.

            The Renewable Fuels Association says E-15 could be available commercially on a limited basis as soon as fall 2011.    RFA said there’s more work to do.

“EPA’s decision today is a sound one, but it doesn’t address the issues that still remain regarding a segmented market place and the introduction of a new fuel,” said (RFA President Bob) Dinneen. “The RFA will continue to work with EPA and other regulatory bodies to expand ethanol use beyond even 15%. Simultaneously, we will continue our dialogue with lawmakers to develop and implement sound policies that provide the proper incentives to grow ethanol use across a variety of blending levels.”

Growth Energy called the EPA decision a “bold move for America.”

Long term, an investment in infrastructure like blender pumps and Flex Fuel Vehicles would accelerate the use of alternatives and put the power to choose back in the hands of the consumer. Growth Energy’s Fueling Freedom plan calls for the build out of 200,000 blender pumps and 120 million Flex Fuel Vehicles. This investment would create permanent access to the fuel market and level the playing field for all liquid transportation fuels.

Congressman Aaron Schock released a statement in support of EPA’s E15 decision.

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