The effort to adopt E15 has earned support from alternative fuel advocates and corn-producing states that have urged the government to use more of the renewable resource. Congress has required fuel refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels into auto fuel by 2022, and the EPA argues that the mandate can’t be met without raising the E10 blend. E85 fuel – a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline that can be used in flex-fuel-capable vehicles — is not affected.
The change has drawn criticism from numerous groups. Engine makers caution that the new blend could lead to consumer confusion at the pump and corrode engines that don’t support E15; ranchers argue that growing more corn, from which ethanol is made, could inflate feed prices for cattle and thus supermarket prices; and environmentalists call switching to E15 a poor use of farmland and wasteful agriculture. Fuel sellers also say they’ll wait to sell the new blend until there’s more public education regarding the new fuel.
The EPA is expected to widen E15 to vehicles built since 2001 after more testing is completed next month.