The ethanol debate has created strong feelings on both sides.

Ethanol backers claim it’s a clean-burning, renewable fuel; detractors cite studies that corn-based ethanol is actually worse for the environment due to its carbon footprint. And hot rodders? You can see some of our concerns about mandated ethanol by reading this article published last year.

So what’s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do?

(Image/Jeff Smith)

The always-popular government agency opted to make no one happy with its latest cuts to the ethanol mandate. The cuts were smaller than expected and will allow the ethanol ratio to push beyond the generally accepted ethanol blend wall—the theoretical maximum amount of ethanol the total U.S. fuel supply can accommodate—in 2016. The blend wall has been placed at 10 percent since the enactment of the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), but the small cuts announced by the EPA on Monday will allow the ethanol ratio to expand to 10.1 percent for next year. By comparison, that number was 9.2 percent  in 2014 and 9.5 percent in 2015.

That’s not good news for those opposed to ethanol; however, the pro-ethanol camp is also unhappy since the RFS called for the U.S. fuel supply to include 22.25 billion gallons of renewables—or 12.4 percent. Ethanol backers have accused the EPA of dragging its feet, and the fact there were any cuts to the mandate are a source of frustration.

You can read more about the decision in this Hemmings post.

For what it’s worth, the cuts for 2016 won’t likely translate to the pump, where E10 is already widespread and E15 is expanding in the Midwest.

Still, it’s a fight worth keeping an eye on.

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Author: David Fuller

David Fuller is OnAllCylinders' managing editor. During his 20-year career in the auto industry, he has covered a variety of races, shows, and industry events and has authored articles for multiple magazines. He has also partnered with mainstream and trade publications on a wide range of editorial projects. In 2012, he helped establish OnAllCylinders, where he enjoys covering all facets of hot rodding and racing.