e15 gasoline cap

It looks like ethanol – especially when blended into gasoline – is facing some pushback. Florida has decided to repeal its Renewable Fuel Standard, which had required all gasoline sold in the state to be blended with nine-to-10 percent ethanol or other alternative fuels.

Florida Governor Rick Scott just signed into law HB4001, which repeals the state's Renewable Fuel Standard as of July 1, 2013. The bill was passed by the Florida House and Senate in April. The Florida Renewable Fuel Standard Act took effect December 31, 2011 and required all gasoline sold by terminal suppliers, importers, blenders or wholesalers (i.e., those up the supply chain) to be blended. These parties were also required to submit a monthly report to the Department of Revenue on the numbers of gallons of blended and unblended gasoline sold. Retail gas stations had not been expressly prohibited by state law from selling or offering unblended gasoline, Green Car Congress reports.

In his signing statement, Scott called the state's Renewable Fuel Standard, "a state mandate on Florida businesses that is duplicative of the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard and inconsistent with the efforts to reduce the regulatory burdens that have helped Florida create over 330,000 new private sector jobs in the past two years."

The state of Maine is going in a similar anti-ethanol direction. Legislators are concerned about the damaging impact ethanol blend going up to 15 percent in gasoline (E15) could have on engines and the environment. They approved a bill by more than a 3-to-1 margin that would ban ethanol blends in Maine, as long as two other nearby states do the same. State leaders also supported a resoltion asking the government to ban E15 altogether.

On the federal level, support is still there for E15 from the US Environmental Protection Agency. States are being slow about supporting the transition from E10 to E15, but Kansas and a few other states have adopted it. Bob Dineen, president and CEO of Renewable Fuels Association, says it's Big Oil that's attacking E15 and fulfillment of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard's targets for biofuels – just to sell more gasoline.