The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is preparing to wade into a national debate surrounding gasoline blends made up of more than 10 percent ethanol.
The state agency is working on a bill that would ban such gasoline blends in Maine if at least two other New England states go along with the prohibition. The legislation is not yet written, and the department is still working on final details.
The move comes amid concerns about E15 voiced in recent months by the American Automobile Association, boaters, small engine operators, fuel dealers and others that most cars on U.S. roads and most small engines aren't equipped to handle the more ethanol-heavy blend.
Officials at the Maine DEP say they expect a push from the federal government to require the use of more ethanol-heavy gasoline. Most gasoline available today is a blend with 10 percent ethanol, a corn-based alcohol added to gasoline.
If Maine lawmakers pass a ban on E15, it would only take effect if two other New England states pass similar policies. No other New England state has such a policy in place. The New Hampshire House last year passed an outright ban on ethanol as a gasoline additive, but that measure was ultimately unsuccessful.
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