Gasoline containing a higher-blend of ethanol may soon be more widely available to motorists after U.S. environmental regulators approved an industry plan to aid retailers in selling the fuel, the ethanol industry said.

Service stations have been slow to offer the fuel, which has 15 percent ethanol, amid worries about liabilities and costs associated with changing equipment. The industry plan is designed to address those concerns.

The Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the Renewable Fuels Association on Thursday saying it approved a plan submitted by the industry group that includes a handbook for retailers on how to make sure owners of older cars do not use the fuel, which is 15 percent ethanol and known as E15.

The EPA last year approved the use of E15 in vehicles built after 2001. The RFA was required to submit the plan by the EPA.

The ethanol industry is hopeful the plan will lead to more sales. It says limits on selling E15 only to newer cars has created a "blending wall" constraining the growth of domestic fuel.

"EPA is clearing the way for E15 and allowing America's ethanol industry to turn its full attention to educating retailers and consumers on the benefits of higher level ethanol blends and ensuring that state fuel regulations allow for their sale," Bob Dinneen, RFA's president and chief executive, said in a release.

source: reuters

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