EPA OKs E15 for More Cars

Environmental Protection Agency_E15Label

It’s been more than 30 years since the Environmental Protection Agency allowed a fuel mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline in America’s vehicle fleet. Today, the federal agency took steps to increase the ethanol mix even further.

The EPA has granted a partial waiver for the use of E15 in vehicles from model years 2001 to 2006. This comes after an October announcement that allowed the use of E15 in vehicles from the 2007 model year or newer.

Both actions waive Clean Air Act controls for E15 as it relates to the increased emission levels the ethanol will produce. The EPA points out that neither waiver decision will require introducing E15 at the gas pump, but that the act merely enables that potential.

The 15% ethanol mixture will work fine in cars from the 2001 model year or newer and in medium-duty trucks of the same model years, according to the EPA. There has been a concern that a higher ethanol blend could damage car engines. The EPA says the E15 mixture shouldn’t go into motorcycles, heavy-duty trucks, boats, snowmobiles, lawn mowers or vehicles from the 2001 model year or older.

Needless to say, vehicles that can’t use E15 make up a sizeable chunk of U.S. transportation, and the EPA knows this. The agency came up with a label (shown above) that is intended to prevent drivers from using the wrong fuel.

The EPA’s decision isn’t a mandate to have the mix in all fuel, such as the E10 blend. Producers, distributers and stations will make those decisions. We doubt there will be any consumer demand for such a fuel, and the cost to add pumps at gas stations is extreme.

The EPA passed this measure after 54 ethanol manufacturers applied for a waiver to increase the amount of ethanol consumption. Manufacturers were required to boost the amount of biofuel production, such as ethanol, in 2007 under the Energy Independence and Security Act, according to the EPA.

Republican and Democratic senators have questioned the move. Earlier this month, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland joined six other colleagues in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging the agency to reconsider the measure, according to the Ethanolmarket.com. The senators cited the concerns of misfueling, which could damage some 200 million engines in use today. Collins said the move would “unnecessarily [add] confusion at the gas pump for consumers.”

Comments 

mike

When did it become the EPA's job to take request? And to do this for the sole reason of company profit. More ethenol less mpg = more fuel use.

Troy S.

Who is benefitting from the increase of ethanol? Who is benefitting the least from this increase?

Ethanol is a joke. Of course, so are oil companies, the epa, and auto companies with their deteriorating fuel efficiency. Where do we start?

Carson

Obama has to reward his corn friends. This is nothing new.

Ted

it better be significantly cheaper! doubt it though

Tony

Don't worry guys. Ethanol has nowhere to go unless it is used as E85. Heard of "ethanol wall"?

http://ajae.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/12/17/ajae.aaq117

Amuro Ray

A fine example of the misuse of science...

Unfortunately, a huge financial bubble - which has ballooned to significant employment and revenues/subsidies - will now make this part of our lives, and it's not gonna go away any time soon...(just like tobacco industries).

Steve_V

I have to laugh at all the nay sayers when it comes to ethanol. Just ask yourself the next time you fuel your vehicle, do I really know what is in that gasoline.

With all the testing for E15, why was ethanol only tested against Indolene rather then consumer intent fuels. Why don't they put Benzene in test fuels yet it is perfectly fine to put it in your gasoline. There are alot of issues here and from your tailpipe ethano can reduce HC, CO, VOC, PM, PAH and SOA emissions and will not increase NOx. We should be running E30 in as many cars as we can and stop putting aromatics in our fuel.

Amuro Ray

@ Steve_V,

I think that you've overlooked 3 issues:

- the increase amount of C2H5OH has been proven to decrease engine mileage. That means using more gasoline, hence a possibility that the outcome is of even worse emission, although the initial intent is noble. This is not to mention the increase amount of gasoline used - that's bad.

- Brazil doesn't use corn to make ethanol. Sugar cane has a much lower impact toward the environment, a much lower cost to plant (and product ethanol), and hasn't been used as a main diet for animals (that means increase cost on food prices).

- Following the point about increases in food prices, more farmers will grow corn 'coz that will be where the money is (esp with US subsidies). That will result in price increase and food shortage for other crops.

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