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Tallahassee, Florida - State lawmakers are debating whether Florida should eliminate its requirement that gasoline contain ethanol.

The Florida House passed a bill Friday that would repeal a 2008 law requiring gas sold in the state to be blended with about 10 percent ethanol.

Opponents say the measure would send a bad message that Florida does not support the renewable energy industry.

Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, said the bill could convince businesses in that industry to leave Florida and make it harder to attract new ones.

"I would urge you to please vote down this repeal bill. It does nothing except hurt the businesses that are here in the state of Florida and it hurts and industry that we are wanting to move to the state of Florida."

Bill sponsor Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, argued Florida should support free markets and government should not force people to buy certain products.

"Any business model that is contingent upon the government forcing people to buy their product is a flawed business model. Any of us in any of our businesses would probably love it if the government mandated that we have customers."

The bill passed 77 - 39.

The Senate's version of the bill does not include a repeal of the ethanol requirement, but rather "encourages" suppliers to sell blended gas.

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