Grove bill to end ethanol mandate in Pa. won't remove the additive


A bill on its way to the state Senate would repeal a mandate requiring all gasoline sold at Pennsylvania gas pumps to contain at least 10 percent ethanol once production of the additive hit a certain point.

"It was put in place. It didn't work," Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, a co-sponsor of the bill, said of the 2008 law.

But if the bill is signed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, that doesn't mean ethanol will be removed from gas pumps across the state.

The federal government has its own mandate in place requiring a percentage of ethanol — an additive made from distilled farm products — be blended with gasoline.

The act: The state law, known as Act 78 of 2008, outlines that gas sold in the state contain 10 percent ethanol when in-state production of ethanol surpasses 350 million gallons in three consecutive months.

But production in the state never came close to reaching its goal, Grove said, adding 50 million gallons of ethanol were produced in the state a few years ago but that number has greatly decreased.

"Literally, we're down to zero," Grove said. "It didn't work."

The state never imposed the 10 percent rule because production never reached its mark. If the law is repealed, nothing will change.

Grove, who sponsored similar legislation the past two legislative sessions, said ethanol is known to lower a vehicle's fuel economy and to damage small engines and engines in older vehicles.

"Ethanol in gasoline is a growing concern for Pennsylvania residents as problems have surfaced with its increased use in our vehicles," Rep. Jim Marshall, R-Beaver and Butler counties, wrote in his co-sponsorship memo.

"Ethanol fuels cause problems with fuel pumps, fuel gauges, as well as other engine performance issues."

The House approved the measure in a largely bipartisan manner Monday.

Numerous Democrats, including Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the bill, sending it along to the Senate.

All members of York County's Republican delegation to the House also gave their approval for the bill.