President Biden’s plan to help reduce soaring gas prices in the U.S. is being criticized for potentially harming sufferers of asthma and other respiratory diseases.
The Asthma and and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) tells DailyMail.com that the plan to lift a ban on using E15 fuel over summer will be harmful.
The fuel is 15 percent ethanol, hence the moniker, is generally considered to be better for the environment than typical types of gasoline, but it cause low-air pollution which can harm people at ground level.
For people suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions, allowing for the fuel to come back during summer months can have a harmful affect on their quality of life.
Gas prices have surged in the U.S. in recent months because of increasing prices of crude oil. The U.S. government is turning to E15 gas, which contains more ethanol, to alleviate prices
‘Any action that increases air pollution is bad news for the asthma community,’ Kenneth Mendez, President and CEO, told DailyMail.com in an email.
Gas prices in America have soared in recent months, eclipsing the four dollar per gallon mark this spring.
While prices have dipped over the past month, from $4.326 a gallon to $4.098 a gallon, per AAA, more relief is needed for Americans.
Prices may start to increase once again this summer, as they often do when the weather begins to warm.
President Biden (pictured) lifted the EPA’s ban on E15 gas over summer, saying it could drop prices by up to ten cents a gallon
The spike in gas prices is tied to an inflation of the cost of crude oil, the primary ingredient.
While almost all gas Americans are using in their cars today do have some ethanol in it, increasing the amount of ethanol means there will be less crude oil.
The issue with E15 is that ethanol is effectively alcohol. It evaporates very quickly in the air. On a hot, summer, day, it can create a hazardous fog to form just over the road.
‘We know that air pollution created by vehicle emissions and fuel production/use threatens the health of those with upper respiratory diseases like asthma,’ Mendez said.
In response to the hazards presented by E15 gas in the summer months, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned its use over summer in 2011, along with all gasoline blends with more than 10 percent ethanol.
The Biden administration hopes that lifting regulations for this summer can help relieve upward price pressures, helping Americans at the gas pump.
It could come at a cost, though.
‘Coalition for Clean Air is concerned that increasing the ethanol content of gasoline beyond 10 percent could boost summertime smog, which sears the lungs,’ Bill Magavern, policy director at the coalition, told DailyMail.com in an email.
Experts say that E15 gas can create a hazardous, ground level, smog that is especially dangerous for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions
The ground level smog has been tied to trouble breathing, inflamed and damaged airways, and worsening conditions for people struggling with asthma. Children suffer an especially high risk.
‘So we are taking a short-term approach to lower gas prices that is likely to result in manifold health harms this summer,’ Dr Aaron Reuben, an environmental health expert at Duke University, told DailyMail.com.
‘I would caution individuals living in areas with lots of vehicle traffic (and states, like California, with consistent air quality problems) to keep an eye on air quality this summer and try to limit their own exposures as much as is possible. For example, exercising indoors on bad air quality days if they can.’
It is likely that lifting the ban does not make much of an overall impact either, an analysis finds.
According to an analysis by Quartz, only 1.5 percent of U.S. gas stations offer E15 gas, and others may not have the proper equipment to distribute it.
Biden predicts a more lofty outcome, saying it could reduce gas prices by up to ten cents a gallon.
‘While I appreciate why the Administration is taking these kinds of actions to lower fuel prices, a better approach is to accelerate investment and promotion of clean energy,’ Mendez said.