E15 may be cleared for commercial sales by summer, advocates say

E15, which is gasoline with a blend of 15 percent ethanol, may be cleared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be sold as commercial gasoline in time for the busy summer driving season, website reports, citing statements by ethanol advocates Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy.

EPA's investigation into E15 testing by the two groups "clears the way for the final steps in registering E15 as a fuel and offering it in the marketplace," the website said. E15 would be legalized for vehicles that have been made since the 2001 model year.

Ethanol advocates are pushing E15 as a way to both cut dependency on foreign oil and reduce gas prices, especially as fuel prices have spiked in the past year. Ethanol sells for about 20 percent less a gallon than gasoline, the website said, citing Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis.

Still, others have opposed commercializing E15. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives' Science Committee approved a bill that would stop the EPA from clearing E15 for commercial use without conducting more studies. Among those pushing for a deeper look at E15 were the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the Friends of the Earth, the Milk Producers Council, the American Bakers Association and the National Turkey Federation.

Late last year, the U.S. Congress ended a 30-year tax subsidy on corn-based ethanol and stopped tariffs on the fuel imported from Brazil. The ethanol industry had received an estimated $45 billion in subsidies since 1980.

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