Senators Introduce Ethanol Bill

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U.S. Senator Susan Collins has introduced legislation to expand the current federal ethanol research and development program to include efforts to make biofuels more compatible for use in small-non road engines. Senator Collins introduced the legislation along with Senator Mark Udall (D-CO).

Specifically, the legislation would amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to expand  the research, development, and demonstration program, authorized in that bill, to include efforts to make biofuels more compatible with small non-road engines.

Previous testing done through the Department of Energy shows that increased ethanol content in smaller engines creates a leaner burning mixture, which may increase idle speed on some small engines, creating unanticipated clutch engagement on equipment such as chain saws and handheld trimmers. Also, ethanol is more corrosive and less efficient than traditional gasoline blends.

“During these difficult economic times, equipment damage due to ethanol-gasoline fuel blends only adds to the many challenges facing Maine’s farmers, fishermen, independent woodsmen and recreational industry,” said Senator Collins. “As we pursue strategies to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, we must also take action to ensure that ethanol fuel blends are safe and efficient for small engines.”