WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, have requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to examine whether its recently-announced policy to allow 15 percent volume ethanol (E15) in the nation's transportation fuel supply will adversely affect the supply of pure gasoline required for operating thousands of engines including those in snowmobiles, chainsaws, lawnmowers, boats, small airplanes and other non-road machinery. In a letter sent yesterday to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, both senators inquired as to whether the EPA considered the availability of pure gasoline in granting the waiver for the use of E15, as well as what policy recommendations the Administration would suggest to ensure sufficient supply of pure gasoline.
"Limited supply of pure gasoline in Maine has resulted in the use of ethanol, which has caused damage to small engines and threatens to undermine recreational activities including snowmobiling, boating, and general aviation," said Senator Snowe. "It is imperative the Administration refrain from promulgating waivers and regulations that unnecessarily distort market prices and adversely affect consumers by forcing them to purchase a product the EPA has already determined unsuitable for non-road usage."
"As I travel throughout Oklahoma, one of the top concerns from consumers is the lack of availability of ethanol-free gasoline," Senator Inhofe said. "It appears that EPA may not have taken into consideration the current and future availability of non-ethanol gasoline in the United States before moving forward with their latest action. The fact remains that the fuels industry and engine manufacturers need more time to adapt and catch up with the myriad challenges facing corn-based ethanol. The victims of this policy, unfortunately, are consumers in Oklahoma and across the country who may be forced to use blended gasoline, which in the case of E15, as EPA admits, could cause damage in the engines they use."