Back in 2007 Congress ushered in the Renewable Fuels Standard, which increased how much ethanol is mixed into gasoline in the United States. Now in 2015 it looks like such a practice is about to become history. The Hill is reporting that a new bill has been introduced that would obliterate any mandate to mix ethanol into gas.
The bill is called “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015. Just last Thursday Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced it. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is acting as another cosponsor of the bill. The move was triggered by the bill for the Keystone XL Pipeline being struck down by President Obama, since the anti-ethanol language was piggybacked on as an amendment.
Many car owners detest ethanol-laced gasoline, but that wasn’t the big reason why the Senators created the new bill. Instead, they claim that the use of ethanol has inflated the price of corn, which in turn has driven up the cost of food. The senators also claim that 40 percent of all corn grown in the U.S. goes into fuel and not on tables.
Another benefit from the ban could be that more companies will work on developing alternative fuels. Even though some automakers offer models that can run on E85, or fuel that’s 85 percent ethanol, few of those vehicles ever fill up with E85. Fewer than 2 percent of gas stations in the United States even offer E85, making it incredibly rare. When it comes to E15, which contains 15 percent ethanol, many gas station owners have opted to not carry it since it requires the use of special “blender pumps” and the fuel isn’t compatible with most vehicles made before 2001.
Of course not everyone is excited about the potential swan song for ethanol-laced gas. The Renewable Fuels Association said that the Senators’ accusations about food prices are false. It also asserted that taking ethanol out of gasoline will increase what consumers pay at the pump.