At a hearing in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Chair Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., shot down the need for new legislation to fix issues with the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that requires a certain amount of ethanol fuel be mixed into standard fuel, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).
Many industry groups argue the RFS needs to be changed or repealed, because it is simply not possible to mix any more corn or alternative-based ethanol into fuel without exceeding the mandated 10 percent combination. Fuel containing 10 percent ethanol is the only mixture currently approved for all engine types that will not void the products warranty.
Reaching the 10 percent limit for ethanol is called hitting “the blend wall.” Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency lowered its requirement for ethanol for the first time since the RFS was put in place, leading some experts and legislators to declare that we have hit the blend wall.
Many senators have introduced various legislative solutions, either to no longer require corn-based ethanol to be blended in, or to do away with the RFS altogether. However, as chair of the committee with jurisdiction over this issue, Boxer’s comments indicate that any legislative option in the Senate would be difficult to pass.