History of Ethanol Fuel in the United States
The United States became the world’s largest producer of ethanol fuel in 2005. In the U.S. ethanol fuel is mainly used as an oxygenate in gasoline in the form of low-level blends up to 10%, and to an increasing extent, as E85 fuel for flex-fuel vehicles.
By 2011 most cars on U.S. roads could run on blends of up to 10% ethanol (E10), and manufacturers had begun producing vehicles designed for much higher percentages. Flexible-fuel cars, trucks, and minivans use gasoline/ethanol blends ranging from pure gasoline up to 85% ethanol (E85). By 2013 there were around 11 million E85-capable vehicles on the road.
In January 2011 the EPA granted a waiver to allow up to 15% of ethanol blended with gasoline (E15) to be sold only for cars and light pick-up truck with model years of 2001 or later. The waiver authorizes, but does not require stations to offer E15.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 required 36 billion U.S. gallons of renewable fuel use by 2022. The target for ethanol production for cellulosic feedstocks was 16 billion US gallons a year. The corn ethanol target was 15 billion US gallons by 2015.