New agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack is calling for a raise in the level of ethanol blend in the country's gasoline which could affect how Americans fuel their farm equipment and personal vehicles.
Currently the blend rate is at 10 percent, but ethanol groups have called for rates as high as 20 percent. Last week the agriculture secretary said he hopes the level will rise above that to help the ethanol industry.
"It's not so much a discussion of which percentage, it's the fact that we have to have a discussion about increasing the blend rate, and, obviously, it's going to have to be something the EPA is comfortable with," Vilsack said, according to Reuters.
The current blend rate of 10.21 percent is an increase from the 7.76 percent used in 2008. Car manufacturers have long called for rates to stay below 10 percent.
It was anticipated by many industry analysts that Vilsack would be friendly to ethanol producers as the new agriculture secretary and the former Iowa governor has expressed his interest in pursuing alternative energy sources as USDA chief.