Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune made the following comments after today's announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally approved the use of E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) in conventional cars and light-duty trucks with a model year of 2001 or newer.

"Today's announcement is long overdue," said Thune. "The Environmental Protection Agency missed an opportunity in October to approve E15 for all cars with a model year 2001 and newer when they approved a partial waiver for the use of E15 in conventional vehicles with a model year of 2007 or newer.

"Approval of E15 will expand the ethanol market and further reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil. The uncertainty in the ethanol market has stifled job creation and economic growth in the clean renewable energy sector."

In October 2010, the EPA approved E15 for cars and light-duty trucks manufactured since 2007 which represents a very small cross-section of all vehicles currently on the road and was criticized for the likelihood that it would lead to consumer confusion at the gas pump. Prior to October's announcement, the EPA has limited ethanol from being blended with gasoline above E10 for use in non-flex fuel engines.

Without moving to a higher blend, ethanol has been arbitrarily capped which creates a "blend wall," the point at which ethanol production exceeds market demand due to the E10 limitation. Full approval of E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles could create as many as 136,000 new jobs and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, ethanol displaced 453 million barrels of imported oil in 2010.

The ethanol blend wall is particularly burdensome because the 2007 Energy bill requires the production and use of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022 - 15 billion gallons of which are derived from corn-based ethanol production. Currently, ethanol accounts for roughly 10 percent of our nation's transportation fuel consumption (140 billion gallons), far more than any other alternative fuel. Home-grown, alternative fuels decrease the need to import oil from unstable regions.

Even with the EPA's decisions over the past few months, industry experts believe E15 will not be available to consumers until additional decisions are made by states and the EPA.