When writing about alternative fuels, there is often this sense of deja vu; like I’ve been here and done that. So it is not surprising in the least that I find myself once again writing that Congress is kick the ethanol industry while its down, and moving to block the sale of E15 gasoline at gas stations across the nation.
The move was spearheaded by Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin on the House Science Committee as a response by an outcry of 31 automakers, pig farmers, and petroluem companies. The bill drew a 19-7 vote along party lines to block the sale of E15 without further scientific assessment.
E15 has already been exhaustively studied though, and the EPA has already approved it for use in 2001 and up model year cars. Furthermore, independent studies have confirmed that the use of E15 has no impact on fuel economy or engine reliability on cars dating back almost 20 years.
But that hasn’t stopped Congress from again blocking the sale of E15, which it did for the first time almost a year ago to the day. It is important to note that the EPA is not mandating all gas stations use E15; it is merely giving station owners the option of selling E15 at clearly-marked pumps. Yet House Republicans won’t even allow that, instead demanding further and further study.
It’s not another roadblock to ethanol industry which saw its Federal subsidies end last year as well has becoming a whipping boy for right-wing pundits to blast as an example of a failed alternative fuel. But studies suggest that ethanol use saves consumers almost 89-cents a gallon at the pump.
I just find it so deliciously ironic that the same Republican party calling for less interference from government is always standing in the way of the ethanol industry. Ironic, but not surprising, that’s for sure.
Source: The Detroit News