Will California fuel rule set the standard?

Governor Schwarzenegger's new fuel standard could set a precedent.
Governor Schwarzenegger's new fuel standard could set a precedent.
New transportation fuel rules passed last month by California have raised questions about the potential impact on agriculture, the farm equipment industry and even gas-powered equipment such as lawn mowers.

California's low carbon fuel standard - approved by the California air resources board in April - will require the carbon content of transportation fuels sold in the state to be reduced by 10 percent by 2020.

The air board approved the measure over objections from the ethanol industry, which claimed the board's basis for determining the environmental effects of corn-based ethanol is flawed.

If the low carbon fuel standard sets a precedent for other states or the federal government, it could lead to higher required blends of biofuels, including the maligned corn-based ethanol.

That would be welcome news for corn growers, but some mechanics have raised the possibility that biofuels like ethanol can damage small engines like those found in lawn mowers.

Ethanol trade groups insist that fuels like E10 have been tested and proven safe for engines, but mechanics have said ethanol can leave a gummy substance in motors that clogs valves and rusts metal parts, according to MSNBC.com.