Amidst the hectic government shutdown, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), backed by co-sponsors Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), and the renewable fuel industry, introduced a bill (S. 1563) to the Senate that would support the nation’s renewable fuel infrastructure and introduce gasoline that contains higher amounts of ethanol.
A draft version of the bill stated the $1 billion in grant program appropriations would be used by gas stations between fiscal years 2014 and 2015 to install ethanol blender pumps. The blender pumps will be able to blend any amount – zero to 85 percent – of ethanol into gasoline. The regulations issued by the DOE would require major fuel distributors to install at least one blender pump at 10 percent of their gas stations by 2016, and half by 2022. The DOE will also support renewable fuel pipelines by creating a loan guarantee program, and will require car manufacturers to increase the percentage of automobiles capable of running on more than one fuel.
U.S. EPA regulations currently allow most vehicles with model years 2001 and newer to use gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, but due to concerns from oil industry groups and auto manufacturers, E15 has been slow to hit the market – as of now, there are only about 40 gas stations in nine states that offer E15. More popular is E85 fuel, which contains at least 70 percent ethanol. Flex-fuel vehicles are able to use E85, and more than 3,000 gas stations in the nation offer it to their flex-fuel customers who account for 6 percent of the U.S.’ total vehicles.
Source: Senate bill introduced to expand ethanol market, E&E News
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