Sometimes government works. According to Detroit News, at nearly 2am in the morning, the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from passing a bill that would push for higher ethanol content at America’s gas pumps.
Originally, the EPA was allowed a blend of 15-percent of ethanol to be sold for vehicles from 2001 and newer. Consequently, the EPA was forced to produce labeling to warn consumers that the higher blend is only for newer vehicles which could tolerate the higher mix, as consumers could be at risk of putting E15 in older engines unknowingly.
Detroit’s Big Three filed suit immediately afterward in December in the U.S. Court of Appeals to block the ethanol percent increase, followed shortly thereafter by boat manufacturers and lawn equipment industry.
Rep. John Sullivan, of Oklahoma, stated, “The EPA has completely ignored calls from lawmakers, industry, environmental and consumer groups to address important safety issues raised by the 50 percent increase in the ethanol mandate issued over the past year. Putting E15 into our general fuel supply could adversely impact up to 60 percent of cars on the road today leading to consumer confusion at the pump and possible engine failure in the cars they drive.”
Many in favor of the House’s move including the American Bakers Association; American Meat Institute; American Petroleum Institute; National Petrochemical & Refiners Association; National Turkey Federation; Outdoor Power Equipment Institute; and Specialty Equipment Market Association all agree that ethanol helps the U.S. reduce foreign oil dependence, but not at the sake of crippling the automotive, manufacturing, shipping, trucking industries.
These groups wrote in a letter in defense of the House’s move, “Protection of the environment and the nation’s motorists must take precedence over the politics of biofuels. Simply stated, this amendment will call a halt to EPA’s headlong rush to introduce E15 at least until unbiased and independent testing on the impact of E15 on vehicle and the environment can be completed.”