Ethanol urged to ease Sandy's gas squeeze

Nov. 1, 2012 at 1:37 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. ethanol industry urged President Obama to allow the use of more of the corn-based additive to stretch gasoline supplies in the Northeast.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said it sent a letter to the White House calling for a temporary lifting of federal ethanol limits to allow gasoline to contain a higher percentage of ethanol.

Most Northeastern states have a 10-percent limit on ethanol in gasoline; however, the association contended that with refinery production still limited following Hurricane Sandy, now would be a good time to allow the sale of so-called E15 and E20 gasoline, which contains 15 and 20-percent ethanol, respectively.

The proposal was floated a day after the Obama administration announced a waiver of the requirements for the sale of cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline to allow the use of conventional gasoline in affected areas where supplies were tight.

The association said in a written statement the industry had plenty of ethanol available to meet increased demand.

"Hundreds of millions of gallons of ethanol are in storage and dozens of ethanol plants are running at reduced rates or have been idled," IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw said. "By removing the restrictions to higher ethanol blends on a temporary basis consumers win, clean air wins and American energy security wins."

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