Grove Legislation Would Remove Ethanol from Gasoline

Citing studies that show ethanol actually decreases fuel economy, Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) has introduced legislation that would remove ethanol blending requirements from the Pennsylvania Biofuel Development and In-State Production Incentive Act of 2008. 

“In our search for a clean and renewable source of energy, people jumped on the ethanol bandwagon before all the facts were available,” said Grove.  “Ethanol has proven to be less efficient than unblended gasoline, and it is causing problems in small engines.  I have both environmental and economic concerns regarding the continued use of ethanol as an additive to fuel.”  

Grove’s legislation was drafted in reaction to the federal government’s decision to allow a higher percentage of ethanol to be blended in gasoline.  The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increased the amount of ethanol allowed for use in late-model cars to 15 percent.  The blend is “safe” only for cars produced in 2001 or later. 

Not only has ethanol been shown to erode fuel economy, but it also causes serious problems in older cars, small engines and boat motors.  Any engine with a carburetor is susceptible to corrosion and clogs because ethanol blends attract water. 

U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisconsin), who recently introduced federal legislation to block the higher ethanol blend from the market, contacted a dozen auto manufacturers from Kia to BMW and all expressed concern about the EPA decision and how the higher ethanol mixture could damage vehicles and void manufacturer warranties. 

“The United States needs to decrease its dependence on foreign oil, but I do not believe ethanol is as promising as we had hoped,” said Grove.  “Rather than continuing to use and increase reliance on this fuel additive, I believe we should speed our attempts to find a viable alternative.” 

Grove noted that in addition to the environmental and mechanical concerns about ethanol, it also has impacted food prices by raising the price of corn, corn-based foods and animal feed.  Even the World Bank has expressed concerns about the influence of government ethanol subsidies on food prices.   

“An increase in corn prices does not only impact a consumer looking to buy tortilla chips or corn on the cob, but it trickles down into every product that uses corn derivatives and affects meat prices,” said Grove.  “Consumers are being squeezed in this economy between higher food and fuel prices combined with stagnant wages.  Ethanol use is driving up the cost of food and lowering the fuel economy of our vehicles.  To continue to use ethanol would be counterintuitive.”  

In mid-June, the U.S. Senate voted to repeal federal ethanol subsidies.  The 45-cent-per-gallon subsidies cost the taxpayers $6 billion each year.  The White House has come out against ending all ethanol subsidies.   

House Bill 1652 is awaiting consideration by the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. 

More information about Grove and his legislative priorities is available at or   

State Representative Seth Grove
196th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact:  Nicole Wamsley