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Senator Wants Study of Ethanol Blend Impact

by 5m Editor
10 June 2009, at 8:56am

US - Senator Jim Webb (Democrat, Virginia), along with 20 other senators, wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Lisa Jackson, to request more comprehensive testing on ethanol prior to raising the ratio that can be mixed into gasoline.

The letter emphasises that air quality and technical issues should be explored, as well as potential adverse effects on consumers and livestock and poultry producers during these hard economic times.

According to WHSV.com, the letter was also sent to Steven Chu, Secretary of the Department of Energy; Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture; and Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

“While increased production and use of ethanol has helped advance the goal of energy independence, it has had the unintended consequence of sharply increasing costs for corn and other sources of feed,” says Senator Webb. “This in turn has negatively affected beef cattle, dairy and poultry producers. I believe it is important to fully understand the impact that increasing the use of corn ethanol would have on food costs. Moreover, prior to increasing the percentage of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline, the EPA should study the effects of ethanol on emissions and durability of different types of gasoline-powered engines.”

Currently, ten per cent of US gasoline may be composed of ethanol, and it has been proposed that the amount of ethanol should be increased. Since ethanol is produced primarily from corn, the current policy has had an adverse impact on food prices and has left many livestock and poultry producers paying more for feed.

In addition, a greater ethanol ratio in gasoline may adversely impact certain types of gasoline-powered engines, particularly those belonging to boats, older vehicles and even lawn mowers.