Federal Agencies' Use of Gasohol Limited by High Prices and Other Factors

RCED-95-41: Published: Dec 13, 1994. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the use of gasohol by federal agencies, focusing on: (1) federal agencies' gasohol use before and after the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993; (2) federal agencies' efforts to encourage gasohol use; and (3) the impediments to gasohol use.

GAO found that: (1) the extent of the federal government's use of gasohol is unknown because federal agencies do not track individual drivers' motor fuel purchases; (2) the percentage of the government's bulk gasohol purchases has not increased significantly since 1991; (3) if the federal government had purchased gasohol at the same rate as the general public, it would have used 19.1 million gallons of gasohol in 1993; (4) federal agencies have issued policies requiring the use of gasohol, depending on its availability and price, and eliminated or tightened agencies' exemptions to the use of gasohol; (5) federal agencies do not know the effect their actions have had on individual purchases of gasohol because of the lack of data; (6) several factors limit the federal government's use of gasohol including its high and uncompetitive price, limited availability, and difficulties in meeting certain environmental and emissions regulations that require the use of clean-burning fuels; and (7) although the use of ethanol in reformulated gasoline and other oxygenated fuels might decrease the availability of ethanol and increase its cost, such use could result in greater ethanol consumption.

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