Climate & Energy Blog

EPA Approves High Ethanol Fuel for More Vehicles

Posted Jan. 21, 2011 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

For Immediate Release
January 21, 2011

Contact:
Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org
Kate McMahon, 978-758-9584, kmcmahon@foe.org

EPA Approves High Ethanol Fuel for More Vehicles

Decision to expand consumption of dirty corn ethanol called dangerous for consumers, the environment

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Friends of the Earth joined a diverse coalition of business, environmental, budget watchdog and public interest groups in condemning today’s decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve the use of gasoline blends containing 15 percent ethanol, referred to as “E15,” in cars, SUVs, and light trucks from model years 2001 and newer.

Today’s decision expands on an EPA ruling in October 2010 that raised the maximum blend of ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent, but limited the use of this higher ethanol blend to cars and light trucks from model years 2007 and newer.

Kate McMahon, biofuels campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth, called the EPA’s decision “a New Year’s gift to corporate ethanol interests that is bad for consumers and bad for the environment.”

“Ethanol is a highly polluting fuel that the EPA has no business promoting,” McMahon continued. “The EPA’s own scientific analysis shows that corn ethanol results in more climate-damaging emissions than gasoline. In addition to contributing to dangerous climate changes, the production of corn ethanol takes land away from food production, encroaches on natural ecosystems, and often involves massive inputs of fertilizer that lead to toxic run-off and pollution of water sources.”

Another danger of the EPA’s decision is the inevitability of consumer confusion at the pumps.

McMahon warned, “Using more ethanol in engines not configured to run on ethanol could lead to engine damage and increased emissions of toxic air pollutants.”

Last year, Friends of the Earth joined the Clean Air Task Force to bring suit against the EPA for its failure to appropriately regulate greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels.

Friends of the Earth advocates better approaches to addressing fuel demands, including the use of more efficient vehicles, smart zoning and transportation plans that reduce the need for driving, and the transition to clean energy electricity as a vehicle power source.

For more information on corn ethanol and other harmful biofuels, visit http://www.foe.org/energy/biofuels.

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Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 76 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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