Bruce Ritchie, Feb. 19- A bill that would repeal a state requirement that gasoline contain ethanol passed a House subcommittee on Tuesday by one vote.
HB 4001 by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, would repeal the requirement passed in 2008 as part of an energy bill championed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist.
Gaetz last year proposed repealing the requirement but said Tuesday he settled on a "faux compromise" that made it clearer in state law that the sale of gasoline without ethanol is legal for use in boats, small motors, antique cars and other purposes.
Gaetz told the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee that HB 4001 this year is needed because ethanol is harmful to some engines, increases gas prices, increases food and grain prices, is bad for the environment because its production uses water and creates greenhouse gases.
He said the state ethanol requirement "tries to dictate consumer behavior." And he said the energy market since last year has changed with huge shale oil reserves being discovered in the United States.
"All the investment in energy that is occurring today is occurring to refine and transport the massive amounts of cheap energy that exists in the Midwest," Gaetz said.