The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the waiver for use of E15 in vehicles built from 2001 to 2006. EPA granted a use waiver for 2007 and newer vehicles last October, but wanted to wait for further testing of older vehicles by the Department of Energy before making a decision for those vehicles.
"EPA's decision today approving the use of E15 in all 2001 model year and newer cars and light-duty trucks is another important step in making more renewable fuel choices available to consumers," Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol said
This decision coupled with the waiver granted last year means that nearly 60% of the nation's vehicle fleet is able to use E15. Growth Energy Chief Operating Officer Tom Buis says that while there have been a lot of delays in the process, things are moving in the right direction.
"The decision last year for 2007 and newer vehicles was a crack in the blend wall," Buis said. "And that blend wall basically mandated that 90% of our fuel be derived from petroleum. Well we had the crack last year, today's decision knocks a bigger hole in that wall and we're not giving up until we completely tear down that blend wall."
Growth Energy Co-Chair General Wesley Clark says it is a huge step forward for U.S. national security. He says that the only real alternative available to the world is ethanol.
"This is going to enable us to produce another 7 billion gallons of ethanol and put it on the market each year," Clark said. "It's going to save us another $15 billion or so in foreign exchange depending on the price of oil, and it's going to further reduce our vulnerability to blackmail and the other elements of the dependence on foreign oil as they affect U.S. foreign policy."
Although this decision does open the market, Buis says there is much yet be done.
"We still have many more regulatory hurdles to clear before E15 gets into the marketplace, but we will clear them one at a time and ultimately get this marketplace open," Buis said. "It's a win for America, it's a win for our consumers, our environment and our economy."
To listen to the press conference held by Growth Energy on the decision, use the audio player above.