The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent out a press release recently noting that it waived a limitation on selling fuel that is more than 10 percent ethanol for model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks.This will allow fuel that contains up to 15 percent ehtanol (or E15) for most newer vehicles.

The waiving of this limitation signals the first of a number of actions that are needed to move toward commercializing E15 gasoline blends. According to the release, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson made the decision after a review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) extensive testing and other available data on E15’s impact 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 home-grown fuels in America’s vehicles, this administration takes those steps.”

A decision on the use of E15 in model year 2001 to 2006 vehicles will be made after testing sometime around this November. At this time, no waiver is being granted this year for E15 use in model year 2000 and older cars and light trucks or in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines. The EPA says that since 1979, up to 10 percent ethanol or E10 has been used for all conventional cars and light trucks, and non-road vehicles.

The EPA notes that everal steps are being taken to help consumers easily identify the correct fuel for their vehicles and equipment. The EPA is proposing E15 pump labeling requirements, including a requirement that the fuel industry specify the ethanol content of gasoline sold to retailers. There would also be a quarterly survey of retail stations to help ensure their gas pumps are properly labeled – which is hugely important to motorized enthusiasts who need fuel to power their vehicles, especially modified vehicles.

The EPA has more information on the status here.

Respond to this blog and express your thoughts on the ethanol situation. Do you think it’s a good move in terms of environmental consciousness, or do you worry about how it might impact your vehicles’ engines?

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