The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wins a bid today for more research into how older vehicles might be affected by increasing gasoline’s ethanol content.

Gloria Berquist, AAM’s vice president-public affairs, joins representatives of 31 other special-interest groups in appealing to the Environmental Protection Agency for “significantly more research and testing” before raising ethanol levels in gasoline to 15% from 10%.

The bill to slow introduction of E15 was introduced late last year by Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). A House committee voted approved the measure earlier today, but it must also go before the full House and Senate and finally to President Obama before the EPA is compelled to perform the additional research.

The EPA green-lighted the higher ethanol levels last year, part of a push to meet mandates of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act calling for the production of 36 billion gallons (136 billion L) of ethanol by 2022.

But many in the automotive, marine and outdoor-equipment industries fear the EPA’s research does not go far enough, citing the risk of potential damage to older engines. The industries also question whether there exists the infrastructure to deliver fuel with higher ethanol levels.

Backers of E15 say the bill introduces “parochial politics” into a scientifically established process for testing new fuels and functions as a “stall tactic” to reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.