The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a reduction of almost 3 billion gallons in the mandated amount of biofuels — mainly ethanol — to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply in 2014. The EPA said it made the recommendation because current levels of ethanol production would have generated more of the fuel than could be used in 2014.
Ethanol industry officials said the decision would be devastating to their industry. One said it’s a “death blow” to cellulosic ethanol, an alternative form of the fuel that some thought could gain a foothold and has driven significant investment in the Midwest.
The EPA decision is viewed as a victory for the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group that has lobbied against an ethanol mandate.
Most gasoline blended with ethanol now is known as E10, because it’s 10 percent ethanol. E85 is 85 percent ethanol, but it can be used only in specially equipped vehicles. To expand the market for ethanol, the EPA said last year that gasoline with up to 15 percent ethanol could be used in a majority of vehicles, but not on older models. It hasn’t become a popular fuel choice.