Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) led a bi-partisan group of Senators in writing a letter to the President last week urging him to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to approve higher blends of ethanol in commercial gasoline. The current maximum blend for non-flex fuel vehicles is 10% ethanol.
“The current 10% standard, or blend wall, will soon impact production capacity and could be very harmful to the ethanol industry in South Dakota and across the country,” said Thune. “By increasing the percentage of ethanol in gasoline, we can reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy and make renewable fuels a key component of our nation’s energy policy.”
Grassley said, “With consideration of a new farm bill as well as a new energy bill well underway, ethanol and renewable fuels are at the forefront of the discussion. And, while we’ve seen a tremendous jump in knowledge, promotion and usage of renewable fuels, there remain very real barriers. In the absence of widespread E85 use at this time, it’s important to ensure a market for today’s ethanol production.”
The Senate version of the 2007 Farm Bill is scheduled for floor debate this week. Senator Thune successfully inserted into the Senate 2007 Farm Bill a study of the E10 blend wall and a “Sense of the Senate” resolution directing the federal government to approve higher blends of ethanol after the successful completion of the appropriate studies.