The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets has proposed a regulatory change to allow the sale of E15, a fuel containing 15% ethanol, in the state.

The proposal concerns vehicles of model year 2001 and newer.

"We appreciate the Department’s work on this regulation to reflect federal approval of E15 and we look forward to working with retailers across the Empire State to quickly get E15 into the market," Growth Energy chief executive Emily Skor said in a statement last week welcoming the proposal.

Growth Energy, an ethanol industry trade group, noted that New York is the fourth largest gasoline market in the country with an annual consumption of more than 5.5 billion gallons (20.8 billion litres). It said that along with US ethanol producer Poet LLC it has worked with the state of New York on the proposed change over the past two years.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved E15 for use in vehicles made since 2001 several years ago. According to the Growth Energy site, E15 is currently sold by more than 175 retail stations in more than 20 states.