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Ethanol Blending Is Spreading Into All Unleaded Gasoline Across U.S. Why?

October 29, 2008

Ethanol is being blended into all of the gasoline across the country because of a new federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) promulgated by a new federal law, the Energy Independence and Security of 2007 (EISA 2007). If you take the time to read this 310 page act, you will notice something peculiar. The portion that governs the RFS is only a minor part of the act, Sections 201 – 248 and most of these sections have to do with E85 (85% ethanol / 15% gasoline), flex-fuel cars, which are the only cars that can use E85, and bio-diesel. The act stipulates that the RFS is to be implemented by the EPA. So why is ethanol showing up in all grades of gasoline everywhere as E10 which is 10% ethanol / 90% gasoline?

To understand the new reality of ethanol blending in the US, click here.

Prohibit Ethanol Blending In All Premium Unleaded Gasoline

Every mandatory E10 state has exemptions to their blending law, because there are a number of piston engine applications that should not, and some that cannot, use ethanol blended gasoline. Unfortunately the exemptions are not uniform. They vary from only one exemption in Washington, aircraft, to a universal exemption of premium unleaded in Missouri. All states exempt aircraft usage, but most states like Oregon and Washington make it almost impossible to get unblended gasoline. Oregon is the only state that allows for unblended regular and premium gasoline for the exemptions, and then makes it almost impossible to get any unblended gasoline. All other mandatory ethanol states just allow clear premium unleaded gasoline for the exempted classes.

The following piston engine applications should not use ethanol blended gasoline:

  • Any 2 cycle engine, or small 4 cycle engine used in tool applications.
  • Any engines used in an emergency stationary engine application like a generator, especially in a humid climate.
  • All watercraft. Ethanol blended gasoline should never be used in a marine environment.
  • Antique and classic cars and classic motorcycles.
  • All aircraft.

All of these users must be able to get ethanol free (E0) gasoline. If you live in a state without a mandatory ethanol blending law, you have no exemptions, ethanol will eventually be blended into all of your unleaded gasoline and there is no requirement in EISA 2007 to label gas pumps with ethanol content.

Please Join The Ethanol Free Premium Coalition

We are looking for people willing to work on legislation in each state to prohibit the blending of ethanol into premium unleaded gasoline and requiring the accurate labeling of pumps that dispense ethanol. This will entail lobbying your state legislators to pass legislation to prohibit the blending of ethanol into gasoline intended for sale anywhere in your state. In the case of states with mandatory E10 laws, it may also mean lobbying for the repeal of ethanol mandates. We believe that if a few states prohibit ethanol blending in premium unleaded gasoline, it will cascade into a nationwide ban and there should be a total ban because there are a lot of piston engine applications that should not, and some that even cannot, use ethanol blended gasoline.

We will also be working on lobbying Congress to repeal EISA 2007 and all government corporate welfare for the ethanol and oil industries. If ethanol is the holy grail of clean air and energy independence then why does it require government corporate welfare payments? What is it about ethanol that it can’t compete in a free market. I urge you to back H.R. 5911, the Remove Incentives for Producing Ethanol Act of 2008, introduced by Representative Jeff Flake (R–AZ).

If you are interested in supporting the Coalition please go to the web site and email us by using the contact button and we will add your name in the state list on the site. You will be able to contact others in your state with a similar interest. We will eventually have model legislative boilerplate to use to work with your state legislators. We will keep the state progress up to date when you let us know what you are doing.

If you need information with references to frame arguments against ethanol blending, see this paper by Todd Petersen.

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