Today, ethanol is everywhere you buy gasoline – 98 percent of the fuel sold in the U.S. includes 10 percent ethanol. Increasingly, retailers also offer higher fuel blends, which provide consumers with cleaner, more affordable options at the gas pump. These include E15, a 15 percent ethanol blend, E30, a 30 percent ethanol blend, and E85, a blend of up to approximately 85 percent ethanol.
E15 was unavailable prior to 2011, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first approved the higher ethanol blend for all conventional light duty vehicles model year 2001 and newer – about nine out of 10 light duty vehicles on the road. Most automakers – including all the “Big Three” U.S. manufacturers – agree and have warrantied E15 for use in new vehicles. Today, E15 is offered in 31 states, with more locations being added every month thanks in part to our work with industry organizations like Prime the Pump. Prime the Pump is an industry effort that helps fuel retailers with offering higher blends of ethanol, like E15 and E85.
In fact, U.S. ethanol consumption has already surpassed a national average of 10 percent, and demand continues to grow as more retailers seek to market lower-cost, higher-octane options.
To protect this progress, policymakers must uphold a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and work to pull down remaining regulatory barriers at the state and federal level that obstruct the sales of higher ethanol blends. Federal regulations, including fuel economy guidelines, must also be updated to reflect the full environmental, health, and performance benefits of homegrown fuels.
Study after study shows that ethanol is a proven high-octane fuel that increases engine efficiency and reduces tailpipe greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions. Growth Energy has been working with federal regulators and the automakers to boost the use of high octane midlevel blends such as E30 for use in the next generation of fuel efficient vehicles.
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