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U.S. EPA approves higher ethanol blends

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said 15% ethanol blended with gasoline is safe for cars and light-duty trucks manufactured between 2001 and 2006, expanding an October decision that the higher blend is safe for cars built since 2007. The EPA’s recent decision could mean that nearly two-thirds of cars on the road could have more corn-based ethanol in their fuel tanks. The maximum gasoline blend has been 10% ethanol. There have been several lawsuits filed against the EPA since the agency decided to allow higher blends for newer cars in October. The EPA has said a congressional mandate for increased ethanol use can’t be achieved without allowing higher percentage blends. Congress, driven by a broad coalition of members from farm states, has required refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels, mostly ethanol, into auto fuel by 2022. (January 22, 2011)