The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Friday an action that will make it easier for oil refiners to use ethanol in cleaner-burning gasoline, while maintaining the air quality benefits of the program.
Specifically, this proposal makes it easier for refiners to blend ethanol in cleaner-burning gasoline by recognizing that the use of ethanol, more than oxygenates, reduces the air pollutant carbon monoxide from the tailpipe.
Normally, for cleaner-burning gasoline with ethanol to meet pollution reduction standards, an adjustment must be made to the gasoline.
That adjustment involves reducing the evaporative property of gasoline to accommodate ethanol, since ethanol can make gasoline evaporate more readily, which leads to an increase in air pollution.
EPA''s proposed adjustment allows refiners to slightly increase the evaporative property of gasoline in exchange for the carbon-monoxide reductions derived from using ethanol.
The cleaner-burning gasoline program is aimed at reducing pollution in the smoggiest cities in the United States.
Smog threatens millions of Americans each year with respiratory problems, and is particularly dangerous to children, according to EPA.
Many chemicals from tailpipes, including carbon monoxide, contribute to the formation of smog.
Before releasing its proposal, EPA first wanted to analyze an alternative proposal submitted by the Illinois EPA.
EPA is specifically requesting comment on the alternative Illinois proposal as well as the agency''s preferred proposal during the 60 day comment period.
The proposed rule can be found at www.epa.gov/otatg/rfg.htm.
by Virginia Sutcliffe