Six Republican members of Congress have taken issue with DOE head Stephen Chu's call for all American vehicles to be E85-capable. Chu – who once said that ethanol, as it is made today, "is not the right crop for biofuels" – suggested the increase in flex-fuel availability during a speech in Des Moines, Iowa in late June. Congressmembers John Campbell (R - CA), Marsha Blackburn (R - TN), Bill Cassidy (R - LA), Lamar Smith (R - TX), Geoff Davis (R - KY), and Ken Calvert (R - CA) sent Chu a letter yesterday that said that Chu was dead wrong about the low cost of converting vehicles to burn higher blends of ethanol, adding:

  • We were surprised to hear that one of the President's Cabinet Secretaries would suggest an over $1 billion per year mandate on auto companies... [for] a fuel that is available at less than 2% of gas stations nationwide.
  • It is also worth mentioning that even if all vehicles were E85-capable, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the nation's ethanol production capacity could never be able to support the entire U.S. auto fleet running on E85.

You can read the letter here: page 1, page 2. The letter comes as the EPA is looking into increasing the nationwide ethanol blend to E15. For more on the E15 debate, click here.

[Source: Auto Alliance]
Original photo by Jared G. Licensed under Creative Commons license 3.0.

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