The National Corn Growers Association, in response to today’s announcement that the Environmental Protection Agency will allow higher blends of ethanol in vehicles from the 2007 model year and newer, says the move is a good first step, but that additional measures are still needed.

“We’re disappointed in the very limited scope of this approval, but pleased the EPA has finally taken action to partially approve the waiver request to allow higher blends of ethanol in some motor vehicles,” said NCGA President Bart Schott, a grower in Kulm, N.D. “We believe this bifurcation of the approval process, and the labels that are expected to be placed on higher-blend fuel pumps, can lead to general consumer confusion and therefore act counter to the original intent.”

By proceeding along this path, EPA’s decision casts an unnecessary shadow on all ethanol blend levels, Schott added. Blends up to E-15 and beyond have been tested and found suitable for a wide range of newer and older vehicles.

According to EPA, today’s action represents an important step toward making America more energy independent, and getting existing ethanol capacity into the market. It provides assurance to farmers, ranchers and the renewable fuels industry that the government backs the use of home grown energy in our cars and trucks.

The EPA added that more work is needed, and is now working with the U.S. Department of Energy on an evaluation of 2001-2006 models.

“We strongly urge the EPA and the Department of Energy to expedite their remaining testing and cut through bureaucracy to quickly approve the E-15 blend for all vehicles,” Schott said. “The National Corn Growers Association looks forward to working with EPA, the U.S. departments of Energy and Agriculture, and the ethanol industry to bring higher blends of ethanol to all – providing a cleaner environment, increased energy security, more jobs throughout our economy, and real fuel choice to consumers.”

Research on the safety of higher blends for older and newer vehicles can be found at