EPA is seeking public comments on a waiver application to increase the amount of ethanol that can be blended into a gallon of gasoline to up to 15 %. Since 1978, the limit has been at 10% ethanol for conventional non flex-fuel vehicles. The comment period will be open for 30 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register on April 22.
To submit comments you can visit www.regulations.gov or you can e-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about submitting public comments on increasing the blend wall, click HERE.
The waiver application is a result of applications submitted by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers on March 6, 2009. Current statute calls for EPA to make a decision within 270 days of receipt, which is December 1, 2009.
"This country can’t move forward to the next generation of biofuels without a marketplace," said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. "And the marketplace is currently capped out because of the blend wall."
Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, was quick to respond in favor of the move.
"I am pleased that EPA is moving forward to receive comments and decide whether to approve the sale of higher ethanol blends based on the law and scientific facts. Studies have been done that indicate E15 is safe for use in conventional vehicles and I believe its use should be approved unless there are reasons found not to do so," said Harkin. "Increasing ethanol blend levels can help decrease our dependence on foreign oil and create new 'green' jobs here in Iowa and across the country."
Once the decision is made to increase the blend wall for ethanol to 15%, it is believed companies with an interest in cellulosic production will move forward with their investments.