* EPA expected to decide on E15 gasoline within two weeks
* Approval of E15 gasoline will draw down ethanol surplus
(New throughout, adds Energy Department official's comments,
background on E15)
By Tom Doggett
WASHINGTON, Sept 29 The U.S. Energy Department
will send to the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday
its eagerly awaited tests results on whether vehicles made
since 2007 can handle a higher blend of ethanol in their fuel.
"We are planning to get everything over to EPA tomorrow,"
said the official, who would not elaborate on what the
department's test results show.
The EPA will review the test data to make its decision on
whether to approve raising the ethanol rate to 115 percent from
"They will take a little while to go through all of that
before they make an announcement on their determination," the
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said the agency is
prepared to make a decision on the fuel known as E15 within two
weeks after it received the DOE test data.
The Energy Department does not have a vote in the matter
and will not make a specific recommendation on whether the EPA
should approve E15 gasoline, the official said.
EPA approval of higher blends could boost U.S. corn growers
and ethanol producers, who say they need to draw down a glut of
The federal Renewable Fuel Standard requires energy
companies to blend 15 billion gallons of corn-based fuel a year
into the gasoline supply by 2015, up from 12 billion gallons
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; additional reporting by Timothy
Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio)