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Bill introduced in House would require additional study of E15

By Holly Jessen | March 01, 2013

A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to repeal the E15 waiver and require additional testing of the fuel, despite extensive testing by the U.S. DOE.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., introduced H.R. 875 soon after it was discussed at a Feb. 26 hearing that cast a negative light on E15.

The bill, which currently has five cosponsors, would require that the EPA enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences for a comprehensive assessment of the scientific and technical research of mid-level blends. The bill specifies that gasoline containing no ethanol and E10 should be compared to mid-level blends and that the assessment should include a short-term and long-term evaluation of the use of mid-level blends in nonroad and onroad vehicles, marine engines and related equipment.

In addition, the EPA’s ability to grant new fuel waivers would be waived until it submitted a report on the conclusions of the National Academy of Sciences to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The EPA would have 45 days to reach an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences and 30 days to submit the report after it received the assessment of E15.

In mid-February, Sensenbrenner introduced a bill seeking to block EPA’s ability to increase the yearly renewable fuel standard cellulosic biofuel requirements. He also previously unsuccessfully attempted to delay the introduction of E15 into the marketplace.

The ethanol industry has repeatedly pointed to the extensive testing E15 went through before the waiver was granted. “Spoiler alert: E15 is the most tested fuel, ever, and the auto industry failed to provide a single example of problems with drivability during the DOE’s testing process,” the Fuels America coalition said previously. “What’s more, renewable fuel has already been proven to save consumers money. Ethanol reduced gasoline prices by $1.09 per gallon in 2011.” The group went on to point out the fuel is safe, clean and has the potential to help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, leading to a more secure energy future. “It’s time to wake up to the reality that renewable fuel is about giving consumers a choice when it comes to fueling their cars, the group said. “And opposition to that choice is about oil company’s efforts to retain control over America’s fuel supply.”