The magazine of the American Automobile Association of New York has a scathing article about the Environmental Protection Agency's consideration of the ethanol industry's request to increase the required amount of ethanol in gasoline to 15% from 10%:
The debate has made strange bedfellows out of the oil industry and environmentalists who both oppose the increase. Environmentalists are crying foul because the E15 blend gets fewer miles to the gallon and is not a clean burning fuel, while the oil industry cites concerns over potential engine damage.
The EPA is still studying the issue and has indicated that it will make its decision in mid-June. But you have to wonder why they would seriously consider the request in the face of all these issues and whether the financial distress of the ethanol producers has anything to do with it. There is no doubt that increasing the percentage of ethanol is risky. The real question is whether this is just another example of an energy policy that is more political than practical, or, worse yet, a bailout for the ethanol industry that may come at the expense of drivers.