Ethanol industry groups on have urged the Detroit 3 to support increasing the ethanol-to-gasoline blend rate when they return to Capitol Hill next week to seek federal aid.
 
They want ethanol to be a part of the plan to be presented to lawmakers.
 
In a letter to the top US auto executives, ethanol trade groups said the companies should use their aid proposals as an opportunity to throw their support behind increasing the US ethanol-to-gasoline blend rate to 15 to 20% and aggressively pursuing flex fuel vehicles.

 "By taking these proactive steps, you can lead the world-wide effort and demonstrate to the Congress and the American people that the American auto industry is committed to moving in the right direction," said the groups, including the National Farmers Union, Growth Energy and the American Coalition for Ethanol.

The US federal government currently restricts the ethanol-to-gasoline blend rate to 10%, but ethanol groups want that raised.

Federal law requires the use of 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels this year, 10.5 billion gallons in 2009, eventually rising to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

However, ethanol's critics are concerned that increasing demand for biofuels for autos takes agricultural production away from food.