Press Release

September 14, 2009
Bill would require study before introduction of new gasoline/ethanol blend

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME)

today introduced legislation designed to ensure that new gasoline fuel mixtures introduced into the marketplace are compatible with gasoline-fueled engines already in widespread


The legislation comes as a result of the difficulties experienced by users following the initial introduction of blends of gasoline with higher concentrations of ethanol. Blends of gasoline with higher concentrations of ethanol burn hotter than other blends of gasoline, and small devices (grass trimmers, chainsaws, etc.) using these fuels have unexpectedly shifted into gear putting their operators at risk of personal injury. Additionally, fiberglass tanks designed to handle gasoline have suffered from early failure as a result of exposure to the more corrosive ethanol blends. These problems were encountered with “E10,” a blend of 10 percent fuel ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. Recently EPA was petitioned to permit E15, a fuel with 15 percent ethanol, into the market and many are concerned that this new fuel blend has not been sufficiently tested.


The bill requires that before an new ethanol-blended fuel with an ethanol concentration above 10 percent is certified by the Environmental Protection Administration as being compliant with the Clean Air Act and permitted into commerce, that the EPA’s Science Advisory Board study the compatibility of the new fuel blend with current engines.


“Ethanol simply burns differently than gasoline. I fully support the development of biofuels to help cure the U.S. of its dependence on foreign oil, but we need to make such a transition in a way that helps, not hurts, commercial and recreational equipment, as well as the environment,”
said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We need to let good science guide us in making sure that we are getting the clean air benefits and engine performance that boaters, lawn care companies and others who rely on smaller engines deserve.”


“During these difficult economic times, equipment damage due to ethanol-gasoline fuel blends only adds to the many challenges facing our nation’s farmers, fishermen, independent woodsmen, and recreational industry,”
said Senator Collins. “As we pursue strategies to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, we must also take action to ensure that ethanol fuel blends are safe and efficient for small engines.”


The bill is supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, American Sportsfishing Association, Clean Air Task Force, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, Motorcycle Industry Council, Inc., National Marine Manufacturers Association, and National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.