The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry approved Wednesday sales, starting in late August, of gasoline containing alcohol, but the alcohol content can be no more than 3 percent, ministry officials said.

The alcohol to be added is ethanol made from corn. Sales of the blended gasoline will be allowed after a ministerial ordinance is revised Aug. 28, the officials said.

According to METI, use of ethanol in gasoline will contribute to curbing global warming because the blend emits less carbon dioxide when burned than conventional gasoline.

The United States has already introduced a product called E10, a gasoline containing 10 percent alcohol.

However, METI decided to cap the ratio of alcohol at 3 percent on grounds that use of gasoline with a high density of alcohol could damage the fuel systems of automobiles, the officials said.

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