The initial step in getting more ethanol in the nation's fuel supply was officially announced today, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcing they are approving gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) for 2007 and newer cars and light trucks.
The "official" decision is that EPA has "waived a limitation on selling fuel that is more than 10% ethanol for model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. The waiver applies to fuel that contains up to 15% ethanol – known as E15 – and only to model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks."
The decision announced today came after a review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) "extensive testing and other available data on E15’s impact on engine durability and emissions," EPA said in a release.
But there are still more ethanol decisions to come. EPA said that whether to allow E15 in model year 2001 to 2006 vehicles "will be made after EPA receives the results of additional DOE testing, which is expected to be completed in November."
But one set of engines you won't be able to use E15 in is those model year 2000 and older cars and light trucks. And, EPA has not approved (and said they wouldn't approve this year) E15 for "any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines."
One of the biggest issues for this decision is whether consumers will put the right fuel in their vehicle. EPA said they are 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.
So do you have to use E15? No, according to Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation. "EPA is not requiring the use of E15," McCarthy stressed. "EPA does not have the authority to require its use." But the decision will allow use of E15 "where and when that is available."