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This Week In Petroleum, Nov. 23, 2011


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This Week In Petroleum

Ethanol Blend Wall: Are We There Yet?

Ethanol blending in the United States has recently grown to the point where nearly every gallon of gasoline contains 10-percent ethanol by volume (E10), the legal maximum for general use in conventional gasoline-powered vehicles under the gasohol waiver issued in 1979 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While EPA acted in late 2010 and early this year to approve the use of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol by volume (E15) in all gasoline-powered light-duty vehicles sold since the 2001 model year, E15 still faces several regulatory and market hurdles.  The term "blend wall" describes the situation in the ethanol market as it nears the saturation point (at the 10 percent content level) due to limited ability to distribute or use additional ethanol, except as E85, a fuel blend with 70 percent to 85 percent ethanol content presently used in very limited volumes that may be sold only for use in flex-fuel vehicles that have been specifically designed to accommodate its use. 


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