by Taylor Beck and Jessica Mensch

Missouri lawmakers voted on Oct. 9 to block a proposed change in Missouri’s gasoline composition that supporters said would make gas cheaper for drivers.

The vote of the legislative committee charged with reviewing major decisions by executive agencies restricted the state Department of Agriculture from increasing the maximum amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent.

Committee Chairman Sen. Eric Schmitt said the question should be decided by the full legislature.

“What we were saying was, that may all be well and good but the appropriate course of action is by legislation and not by administrative rule,” said Schmitt, R-St. Louis County.

Schmitt said he is open to the idea of an increased maximum, but would have to see how it played out during the upcoming legislative session to determine how he would stand on the issue.

The panel met throughout the week to hear testimony from multiple sources. Ron Leone, the executive director of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, said he was worried about the effect of ethanol blend 15 gas, also known as E15, on older cars.

“It will cause misfueling of your constituents and it will potentially cause damage to engines and void vehicle warranties,” Leone said Monday.

Christy Moore, a representative from the Renewable Energy Association, disagreed and said there have been no reports of misfueling, engine damage or liability claims against retailers who currently offer that type of gasoline.

Moore said higher ethanol content could cut gas costs for consumers.