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LETTER: Higher ethanol blends: Good for farmers, planet

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Letters to the Editor

An April 7 Letter headlined "What about capitalism, free enterprise?" took issue with a March 30 Other Voices editorial that outlined the environmental and economic benefits of renewable motor fuels made from farm-raised feedstocks here in the Midwest. The writer of the Letter was wrong about several key facts.

Farmers are optimistic for the first time in years because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soon expected to lift outdated summer-time sales restrictions on 15 percent ethanol blends, or E15. The April 7 Letter writer suggested that the rule change would increase emissions, but E15 is cleaner than regular gasoline. The regulation being lifted applies to evaporative emissions – Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) – and the EPA has acknowledged that “E15 is likely to result in somewhat lower evaporative emissions compared to fuel currently sold in much of the country (E10) as a result of the lower volatility of E15.”

The truth is that E15 has always been a superior fuel – cleaner, lower in cost, and higher in octane. The problem was that government regulations from 30 years ago were never updated to reflect newer options.

The Letter writer also claims that support for E15 is anti-free market. But that’s wrong, too. Nearly 1,800 fuel stations offer E15, and it’s sold right alongside traditional gas, so consumers can make up their own mind. The new rule being considered would just let customers make their own choices during the summer, too. That’s an option we can all get behind, because higher ethanol blends are good for farmers and the planet. Todd Popken, Akron, Iowa

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