Recently the Environment Protection Agency was asked to increase the ethanol blend in gasoline above the current ten percent.  Increasing the ethanol blend would result in serious economic consequences that could negatively affect already struggling American consumers.

First and foremost, raising the ethanol blend requirement could decrease automobiles’ fuel economy.  Since ethanol has lower energy content per gallon more fuel is required to travel the same distance, which will mean drivers will have to fill their gas tanks more frequently.  In fact, the Department of Energy (DOE) has begun assessing the use of ethanol blends and their effects on vehicle performance.  In their recent report, the DOE tested 13 different vehicles with ethanol blends up to 20% and, on average, fuel economy of the vehicles decreased by over 7 percent.

Additionally, by mandating an increase in the ethanol blend in gasoline American consumers will see an increase in food costs.  Ethanol is a major driver of corn prices.  Last year we saw the price of corn reach record highs resulting in increased costs for consumers and livestock producers.  As a result of the record corn prices, food prices increased as farmers shifted land from these commodities to plant corn.  Increasing the ethanol blend will only further exacerbate this problem.

It is critically important that the Administration thoroughly examine the consequences of increasing the ethanol blend in gasoline, especially given this tough economic time.