War of Words over E15 Standard

War of Words over E15 Standard

With the EPA expected to rule on a waiver that would permit E15 (15% ethanol fuel) to be sold in the U.S. a war of words is heating up between ethanol advocastes, oil industry spokesmen and others. 

As Ethanol Producer reports:

In the space of two days, the auto and oil industries urged caution on the pending decision on the use of E15 and an Archer Daniels Midland executive advocated going to E11 or E12 for "smoother implementation on the way to higher blend levels."

The Auto Alliance, the American Petroleum Institute and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute have asked the U.S. EPA to delay action on the E15 waiver. Based on preliminary results of a testing program for use of blends higher than E10 with non flex-fuel vehicles (FFV), those groups say higher blends of ethanol have not been proven safe or effective. "Testing for engine and vehicle compatibility and environmental issues is scheduled for completion in 2011," said Coleman Jones, biofuel implementation manager for General Motors. "There's no need for precipitous action when the scientific results are so close at hand."

ADM's comment on the issue came during its quarterly earnings call. Patricia Woertz, executive chairman and CEO, mentioned in prepared remarks that if the EPA approves the E15 waiver it would set things up for increased future demand. However, due to challenges in widespread adoption, the company feels that an increase to E11 or E12 would be an easier next step toward higher blends. For every 1 percent increase in the blend wall, she said, it would add about 1.3 billion additional gallons of ethanol.

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