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Legislators Look at Repealing the Ethanol Mandate

Author: Mike Aguilar

To say that the EPA's Ethanol Mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard has been controversial is to make a mammoth understatement.  Auto enthusiasts across the board have been up in arms about it since shortly after it came out a few years ago.  Originally, when it first came out, there wasn't much opposition to it, but that seems to be mainly because there wasn't much research about it at the time.

That's changed.  Ethanol has been shown to increase the formation of water in gasoline.  Over time, especially when the vehicle sits for any length of time, this causes the formation of formic acid in the fuel system.  Formic acid is caustic to fuel system components, especially those in older cars and cars with aftermarket performance products that were produced prior to 2001.

Hawaii was one of the first states to mandate the use of ethanol in gasoline because it was thought that it would help the state's struggling sugar cane industry.  However, it was shown to introduce an undue economic burden on residents of the state, so, earlier this year the state's governor David Ige signed into law a bill that repeals the ethanol mandate in Hawaii.  This law takes effect in December of this year.

Hawaii isn’t the only state to repeal the ethanol mandate though. Florida’s governor Rick Scott signed Florida House Bill 4001 back in 2013 that repealed that state’s ethanol mandate. Pennsylvania’ legislature is currently looking at their own ethanol repeal with PA House bill 471. If you’re a registered voter in PA, give your state representative a call showing support for this bill.

These states individually repealing the ethanol mandate of the RFS may soon become a moot point though, if the US Senate acts on a bill introduced earlier this year. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Mark Toomey jointly filed a bill that would repeal the Ethanol Mandate of the RFS at a federal level. Senate bill S. 577 would remove the ethanol mandate from the Clean Air Act. Contact your state’s senators and show support for this bill and tell them to get working on it. It was introduced shortly before the new Senate took office and has been going nowhere ever since.