Growth Energy Sets the Record Straight on Higher Ethanol Blends

Washington, D.C. – Today, General Wesley Clark, Chairman of Growth Energy, and Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO, released the following letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Carol Browner in response to the letter sent last week opposing the Green Jobs waiver submitted by Growth Energy to increase the regulatory cap of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply from 10 percent to up to 15 percent. The letter is as follows:


March 30, 2009

Dear Secretaries Chu and Vilsack, Administrator Jackson, and Ms. Browner:

We understand that you recently received a letter from organizations opposed to the Green Jobs waiver submitted by Growth Energy asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline from 10 percent to up to 15 percent. We always knew there would be opposition from various groups to moving forward with renewable fuels like ethanol, some due to opposing economic interest like National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, American Conservative Union, and Competitive Enterprise Institute as well as others due to inaccurate or outdated information.


But the facts are that raising the blend of ethanol in the fuel supply will spur job creation, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and help improve the environment. A study conducted by researchers at North Dakota State University shows that increasing the regulatory cap on ethanol to 15 percent could create and support more than 130,000 jobs and inject $24 billion into the American economy annually. In this economic crisis, those jobs could help thousands of Americans get back to work in good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. Also, the move to a blend of up to 15 percent would displace 7 billion gallons of imported oil and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Blending ethanol also helps pollution, including carbon monoxide, a key ingredient in ground level ozone. As ethanol use has increased, ozone levels have decreased nationally by 5 percent from 2001 to 2007 according to the EPA.


And according to all studies thus far this can be done without any adverse impact on the automobile fleet. Below is a full list of studies that validate our position. Also, on our side are the American farmers and a strong bi-partisan group who favor moving away from imported fossil fuels and relying increasingly on renewable domestic fuels.


For these reasons, there is widespread support in Congress for an immediate move to an ethanol blend of 12 or 13 percent, while EPA reviews the full merits of our waiver, and we support such efforts. In fact, this approach has been endorsed by Members on both sides of the aisle.


Again, we agree that the EPA and the Obama administration should rely on science when developing policy. We hope you examine the studies we’ve provided and make a decision based on the facts and the best interests of the American people.




General Wesley Clark, Co-chairman, Growth Energy


Tom Buis, CEO, Growth Energy


Studies on Higher Blends of Ethanol

· Effects of Intermediate Ethanol Blends on Legacy Vehicles and Small Non-Road Engines, Report 1, prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy (October 2008) (peer-reviewed study regarding the effects of E-15 and E-20 on motor vehicles and small non-road engines concludes that when E-15 and E-20 were compared to traditional gasoline, there are no significant changes in vehicle tailpipe emissions, vehicle driveability, or small non-road engine emissions as ethanol content increased);

· Optimal Ethanol Blend-Level Investigation, Final Report, prepared by Energy & Environmental Research Center and Minnesota Center for Automotive Research for American Coalition for Ethanol (October 2007) (report studied the effects of ethanol blends ranging from E-10 to E-85 on motor vehicles and found that exhaust emissions levels for all vehicles at all levels of ethanol blend were within the applicable Clean Air Act standards);

· The Feasibility of 20 Percent Ethanol Blends by Volume as a Motor Fuel, Results of Materials Compatibility and Driveability Testing, prepared by the State of Minnesota and the Renewable Fuels Association (March 2008):

a. The Effects of E20 on Metals Used in Automotive Fuel System Components (study compared the effects of E-0, E-10 and E-20 on nineteen metals and found that the metals tested were compatible with all three fuels);

b. The Effects of E20 on Elastomers Used in Automotive Fuel System Components (study compared the effects of E-0, E-10 and E-20 on eight elastomers and found that E-20 caused no greater change in properties than E-0 or E-10);

c. The Effects of E20 on Plastic Automotive System Components (study compared the effects of E-0, E-10 and E-20 on eight plastics and found that there was no significant difference in the properties of the samples exposed to E-20 and E-10);

d. The Effects of E20 on Automotive Fuel Pumps and Sending Units (study compared the effects of E-0, E-10 and E-20 on the performance of twenty-four fuel pumps and nine sending units and found that E-20 has similar effect as E-10 and E-0 on fuel pumps and sending units);

e. Demonstration and Driveability Project to Determine the Feasibility of Using E20 as a Motor Fuel (study tested forty pairs of vehicles on E-0 and E-20 and found no driveability or operational issues with either fuel)

· Fuel Permeation from Automotive Systems: E-0, E-6, E-10, E-20 and E-85, prepared by the Coordinating Research Council, Inc. (CRC Report No. E-65-3) (December 2006) (study evaluated effects of E-0, E-6, E-20 and E-85 on the evaporative emissions rates from permeation in five newer California vehicles and found that there was no statistically significant increase in diurnal permeation rates between E-6 and E-20);

· Report to the US Senate on E-20 Ethanol Research, prepared by the Rochester Institute of Technology (October 2008) (study evaluated effects of E-20 on ten legacy vehicles; initial results after 75,000 collective miles driven found no fuel-related failures or significant vehicle problems and documented reductions in regulated tailpipe emissions when using E-20 compared to E-0);

· Use of Mid-Range Ethanol/Gasoline Blends in Unmodified Passenger Cars and Light Duty Trucks, prepared by Minnesota Center for Automotive Research (July 1999) (one-year study evaluated the effects of E-10 and E-30 in fifteen older vehicles in “real world” driving conditions; found no effect on driveability or component compatibility from either fuel and found that regulated exhaust emissions from both fuels were well below federal standards);

· Blending of Ethanol in Gasoline for Spark Ignition Engines: Problem Inventory and Evaporative Measurements, prepared by Stockholm University et. al., (2004-05) (study tested and compared evaporative emissions from E-0, E-5, E-10, and E-15 and found lower total hydrocarbon emissions and lower evaporative emissions from E-15 than from E-10 and E-5).




About Growth Energy

Growth Energy is a group committed to the promise of agriculture and growing America’s economy through cleaner, greener energy. Growth Energy members recognize America needs a new ethanol approach. Through smart policy reform and a proactive grassroots campaign, Growth Energy promotes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, expanding the use of ethanol in gasoline, decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and creating American jobs at home. More information can be found at