The Environmental Protection Agency will delay until the fall a decision on whether more ethanol than the current 10 percent limit can be blended into gasoline, according to media reports.
The EPA had been expected to render its decision this month. Growth Energy, an organization representing the nation's ethanol producers, has petitioned the EPA for a waiver to allow ethanol blends of up to 15 percent.
An EPA statement, provided to Dow Jones Newswires, said more testing still needs to be conducted on cars to see how they run on a 15 percent ethanol blend. EPA said preliminary results "look good," and Department of Agriculture officials called that good news for the ethanol industry.
Many boating industry organizations, including the NMMA and BoatU.S., have been urging the EPA to base its decision on sound scientific data, and contend that higher ethanol levels could cause serious damage to boat engines.
E10 has led to the disintegration of fiberglass fuel tanks, the gumming up of fuel lines, and piston and valve failure. These problems have raised concerns among boating safety advocates.
The federal government set a 10 percent limit on ethanol about three decades ago.