U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and David Vitter (R-LA) on Thursday, introduced legislation to block an increase in the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline. The bill would overturn Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waivers that allowed gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) to be used for many passenger cars and light trucks.

The higher blend of ethanol has been found to cause engine damage, reduce fuel efficiency and contribute to higher corn prices and rising food costs for American consumers.

The Wicker-Vitter bill would prohibit the EPA administrator from granting any waiver for a blend above 10% ethanol and would repeal the previous waivers.

“EPA’s flawed waivers allowing E15 amount to government bureaucrats issuing short-sighted regulations that negatively impact families and businesses across the country,” says Wicker, a member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. “The concerns surrounding E15 that existed prior to the waivers have increased instead of diminished.”

“Whether you drive a car, truck, boat or tractor, misfueling with E15 could result in engine failure, increased emissions and the voiding of warranty coverage,” Vitter says. “It is irresponsible for EPA to allow E15 without sufficient testing and technical analysis. I support an all-inclusive energy strategy, but experimenting before understanding the consequences and potential cost of using E15 is unfair to consumers.”

EPA issued two waivers to permit the use of E15. The first, in 2010, was for use in cars and light trucks model year 2007 or later. The second, in 2011, allowed E15 to be used in vehicles model year 2001 to 2006.

In November 2012, AAA urged the Obama administration to halt the sale of E15 because of possible engine damage. AAA said it found in a survey a strong likelihood of consumer confusion and the potential for voided warranties and vehicle damage.

More on that study can be found here: http://newsroom.aaa.com/2012/11/new-e15-gasoline-may-damage-vehicles-and-cause-consumer-confusion/

A copy of the Wicker-Vitter bill can be found here: http://wicker.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Files.View&FileStore_id=c82fe883-51a0-4fc9-999e-51ec19f4b85a