WASHINGTON The White House has signed off on a new gasoline pump label that would warn consumers when they are about to fill their vehicles with a fuel blended with a higher rate of ethanol.
The Environmental Protection Agency approved raising the ethanol levels in gasoline to 15 percent from 10 percent for newer cars and trucks in January, a move welcomed by the ethanol industry and by farmers who supply the corn to make the fuel.
The new label means the so-called E15 gasoline could be available nationwide by the end of September, according to Growth Energy, the pro-ethanol trade group.
The EPA still has to officially register E15 before it can be sold.
It is unclear how fast E15 gasoline will be adopted by service station owners as they would have to invest in new pumps and separate storage tanks. Many stations will continue to sell E10 gasoline, which can be used in all makes of vehicles.
The National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, whose members sell about 80 percent of the gasoline in the U.S., sent a joint letter to EPA two weeks ago opposing the new label.
The groups said retailers selling E15 could be held liable for damages if consumers inadvertently put the fuel in the wrong engines.
E15 is approved for vehicles built since 2001, a fleet of 150 million cars and trucks that consumes 74 percent of U.S. gasoline production.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Marguerita Choy)