Over the weekend, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (286 to 135) to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using federal money to cover the costs of raising the amount of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent (E10) to 15 (E15) percent.

Last October, the EPA announced that E15 was safe for use in 2007 or newer vehicles. Then, in late January, the EPA approved the biofuel for use in model year 2001-2006 vehicles. Well, without funding to back the move to E15, the EPA's approval could prove meaningless.

John Sullivan (R-OK) introduced an amendment to the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution (CR), barring the EPA from using appropriated funds to boost the ethanol content of gasoline. As Sullivan 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.
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the national trade association for the U.S. ethanol industry, responded to the House's vote with this statement:
Last night, political science trumped physical science. The fact remains ethanol is a thoroughly tested, safe, and effective motor fuel. Americans spend nearly $1 billion a day importing oil, often from hostile regions of the world. If the chaos in the Middle East teaches us anything, it should be that America must forcefully begin down the path of energy self-reliance. Increasing the use of domestic renewable fuels like ethanol is the first, and arguably, the easiest step we can take.
The House has denied consumers choice in the type of fuel they use. Instead, they have chosen to continue giving oil companies a virtual monopoly over the fueling system. Our dependence on imported oil is neither safe nor sustainable. As the world's largest oil companies tell us they can't find new sources of oil, this House measure would seek to relegate future generations to a preventable future of oil dependence.
Currently, the Senate is working on its own rendition of the FY 2011 CR. President Obama announced that he will veto the House's version of the CR if it hits his desk.

[Source: Detroit News, Renewable Fuels Association]

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