WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that she supported a higher ethanol-to-gasoline blend rate as a way to reduce reliance on petroleum imports.
"It seems to me we should be able to do that," Pelosi told reporters after speaking to the National Farmers Union convention.
At present, gasoline may contain up to 10 percent fuel ethanol, made mostly from corn (maize). An ethanol trade group asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday to allow blends of up to 15 percent ethanol in motor fuel.
Asked about raising the ethanol cap, Pelosi, a California Democrat, said "I hope so" and pointed to the goal of more domestic fuel production.
Earlier in the day, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the NFU that he believed the government could move "fairly quickly" to a 12 percent or 13 percent blend as an interim step. House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson, Minnesota Democrat, said, "I think we're going to 13 percent."
(Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by David Gregorio)
Reuters online 3/9/09