_ _While proponents have long argued that American automobiles can handle the higher blend without significant damage to the engine, the decision to move to E15 has been delayed twice to allow for more testing. Growth Energy, an industry group representing a coalition of ethanol producers that petitioned for the higher rate, also said it anticipated a positive outcome. "We expect that within a few months after the announcement E15 will be available," said a spokeswoman for Growth Energy days after meeting on the issue with EPA chief Lisa Jackson. The higher blends could be available by March or April of next year assuming the EPA makes two approvals for use of E15 in 2001 cars and newer models by the end of the year, the spokeswoman said. Asked about the ruling, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters that he expected the EPA to approve higher blends for some cars by early-to-mid October, in line with a target that the agency itself had given several months ago.