The battle over selling a higher ethanol blend of gasoline in light-duty vehicle fuel is back in the headlines, as some members of Congress are now suggesting an overhaul of the 2007 ethanol mandate, the Detroit News says.
Some Congresspeople are arguing that the ethanol mandate needs to be adjusted to account for the fact that Americans are using less fuel. They're using less fuel thanks to general improvements to fleetwide fuel economy. Meanwhile, Adam Sieminksi, who heads the US Energy Information Administration, says the US won't "come close" to meeting renewable fuel production goals set for 2022. Federal ethanol-use targets for 2013 are almost three times higher than 2007 figures and are earmarked to double within the next decade.
Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court struck down an effort to block public sales of gasoline with a 15-percent ethanol blend (i.e., E15). The American Petroleum Institute (API) has been leading a number of groups, including AAA, to argue that ethanol's higher alcohol content causes engine damage. Those arguments got louder last year when the US Environmental Protection Agency started allowing public sales of E15. In the US today, most standard gasoline is blended with a 10-percent ethanol mix.
An API representative told the AP, "The ever increasing ethanol mandate has become unsustainable, causing a looming crisis for gasoline consumers. We're at the point where refiners are being pressured to put unsafe levels of ethanol in gasoline, which could damage vehicles, harm consumers and wreak havoc on our economy." So you can see why Congress might be taking action.