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Maine seeks to ban E15

by Ronan Glon

Maine will move to ban the fuel if two or more neighboring states join the fight.

Lawmakers in Maine will ban the sale of gasoline that contains at least 15 percent ethanol (E15) if two or more neighboring states join the fight.

Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorized the sale of E15 about seven months ago, most automakers are still adamantly opposed to the higher blend of ethanol and warn that burning it can badly damage engines and void warranties. Ford and GM have approved E15 for a small number of their vehicles, while Chrysler maintains that none of its cars should be filled up with E15.

The ongoing controversy is the main driving force behind Maine's attempt to ban the fuel.

"We don't want to sell something that people can't use and that people wouldn't want to use,” explained Jamie Py, the president of the Maine Energy Marketers Association.

Maine's bill is still at the embryonic stage. Neighboring states have not pledge their support yet, but merely proposing the idea of banning E15 has earned the Pine Tree State a large dose of criticism.

"If there are consumers in Maine that would like to add E15 to their 2012 Ford, then I think Maine should want to see consumer choice,” said Bob Dinneen, the president of the Renewable Fuels Association, in an interview with Maine's Bangor Daily News. "They're taking that consumer choice away, and that seems somewhat un-American to me.”

Lawmakers are still figuring out the final details and they have not yet started to write the bill. If passed into a law, it will come into effect before the end of the year.

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