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Nebraska bill that would limit consumer information about ethanol dies in legislature

Over the past few months, we’ve done our best to bring our readers information on the ethanol controversy as it plays out in our nation’s courtrooms and legislatures. In addition to highlighting a study on how higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline can be harmful to car engines, we also published some tips that could keep your small equipment running despite complications stemming from ethanol fuel.

But, while many automotive industry experts have been lobbying to make information on ethanol publicly available, some say a recent bill threatened the ability of Nebraskan consumers to best protect their small equipment investments.

The current threat reached a head on March 11, when The Associated Press reported that lawmakers in Nebraska were expected to vote to repeal a regulation that requires all mixtures containing at least 1 percent ethanol to be labeled for buyers.

“We’ve found that, over the years, it’s been viewed by most consumers as a warning label,” Ron Lamberty, of the American Coalition for Ethanol, said in a statement about the repeal at the time. “There’s all kinds of stuff in gasoline, but they’re not required to label all of it.”

However, on May 31, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) announced that the repeal effort had died in the state legislature.

SEMA, which openly opposed the bill, said that “the bill would have made it impossible for owners to know whether the gasoline they put into their vehicles contained any ethanol, making unintentional misfueling and engine damage more likely.”

With the failure of the bill, Nebraska, one of the largest producers of ethanol in the United States, retains its distinction as one of 19 states that still imposes labeling requirements.

Do you look for ethanol labeling when purchasing fuel blends? If so, do you think this information shapes your buying process? Share your thoughts below:

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