The Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to raise the blend wall from 10 percent ethanol (E10) to 15 percent ethanol (E15) for 2007 and newer vehicles is a great first step, but much more still needs to be done to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, create jobs in the U.S. and improve our environment.
Extensive government, industry and academic testing proves that there is no reason to limit E15 to only 2007 and newer vehicles. Approval of vehicles from 2001 means that E15 fuel would be allowed in more than 86 million cars and trucks, or more than half of the total passenger cars and light-duty trucks on the road today.
This makes sense from an economic as well as an environmental perspective. By allowing E15 as an option on the market, the U.S. could create 136,000 new jobs, decrease carbon emissions equivalent to removing 1.35 million vehicles from American roads and displace as much as 7 billion gallons of gasoline from imported oil. More can be done to produce and use more ethanol in the U.S., and we encourage the U.S. government to take the steps to increase the amount of ethanol in our fuel supply.
Richard R. Oswald is president of the Missouri Farmers Union.