Study Warns of E15 Fuel Dangers

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The EPA recently approved the use of E15 fuel at gas stations, but several groups, including the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, say that the ruling is premature and will have dangerous consequences. The organization contends that the 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline blend is harmful to engines.

USA Today is reporting that several industry trade groups agree that more testing should be done. The Auto Alliance and Global Automakers and the Coordinating Research Council say that testing wasn’t finished and adding more ethanol to gasoline means engines and other mechanical parts could be negatively affected by its corrosive alcohol content.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers also weighed in on the dangers of upping the fuel blend from 10% ethanol to 15%; E10 is widely used at gas stations today.

"The Coordinating Research Council's objective scientific tests have found disturbing evidence that increasing the amount of ethanol in gasoline above the current 10 percent causes serious damage to car engines. The study shows that a significant percentage of cars tested suffered engine damage when refueled with 15 percent ethanol. These are cars EPA has approved to run on E15 and are representative of approximately 5 million vehicles in the nation's existing fleet," President of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, Charles T. Drevna, said in a statement.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers is urging the EPA to reconsider their decision. "No one should be asked to pump first and ask questions later and become a participant in a giant science experiment to line the coffers of large agribusinesses while overlooking the real-world implications of E15," Drevna said.

E15 alcohol fuel can wreck engines, auto groups' data say (USA Today)

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EPA OKs E15 for More Cars
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Comments 

J.C.A.

Food for fuel has been a big bust ! Using anything that isn't fit for HUMAN consumption effects the price of food, as it is used for animal feed. (Spare me you vegetarians, we are carnivores by nature...get over it)
Not only has it taken a significant source for animal feed, but has to be government subsidized to make any economical sense whatsoever.
Things that make you go HMMMM.
Bio anything is just a game to make everyone feel good right now. It makes absolutely no economic sense and helps raise food prices...not to mention what it has done to the diesel and heating fuel supplies and prices in this country.
Trust me on this, I work in the heating business and about 1/3rd of my work is oil (bio) fueled appliances.It USED to be better than 50 %, but the costs in service alone have driven customers away in droves. Fuel oil used to compete head to head with natural gas but today, the cost per btu has swung wildly in favor of natural gas.(16$+/- per million btu's for N.G VS. round about 36$/+/- per million btu's for #2 fuel oil. Not to mention that the same,bio fuel contains roughly 127,800 btu's/gal VS. straight fuel that used to be pegged at 139,00 btu's/gal. !
We've got a LONG way to go. When it is both profitable AND proven, I'll buy into this "alternative fuel" line. Until it is anything but otherwise...VOTE and call your representatives and tell them that your not buying it either. Rant off. J.C.A.

Highdesertcat

New Mexico has mandated 10% and it has been a problem for older vehicles because the alcohol eats through the rubber fuel lines.

We've had several car fires in the area because of fuel igniting from contact with hot manifolds or exhaust pies and catalytic converters, while they are being driven on the roads.

You can smell raw gasoline oozing from older cars in the Wal-Mart and K-Mart parking lots. Leaky fuel lines.

One day one of those old cars will self-ignite and immolate everything around it, including other cars parked alongside of it.

New Mexico wants to increase the content to 15% staring January 1, 2013.

And it doesn't make sense to make alcohol from corn that could be used as food. It just raises the cost of our food. Corn is a food staple in New Mexico with more tortillas sold than bread.

And considering how much oil there is in the ground in New Mexico, it makes no sense at all to blend in alcohol to make gasoline more expensive. 100% gasoline is actually less expensive than the blended stuff.

David

So in the end we the taxpayers are going to get bill, when the EPA gets suied and found at fault for allowing vehicles to be damaged and the government ends up picking up the tab to fix all these cars....Great idea EPA!

Bill

highdesertcat, I can remember that happening in old cars back when I was a kid long before ethanol was used so the ethanol is not necessarily the problem.

Wayne Day

Energy per unit volume of ethanol is more than 30% lower than for gasoline. What I find annoying is companies like Shell advertising GASOLINE but the small print says "up to 10% alcohol" which means I'm getting ripped off. E15 will just be a bigger ripoff.

Highdesertcat

Bill, the ethanol is the problem for cars of the '80s, 90's and early 2000s. Their rubber was never designed for the solvent qualities of alcohol.

In states where ethanol is not mandated those vintage cars run fine with their legacy fuel systems intact.

But I understand what you mean by 'old cars' since I have also experienced it in my old cars long before ethanol became trendy. By old I mean 50's, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s cars I kept going over the years.

Old cars will actually run fine on ethanol, albeit with less power and even worse fuel economy, as long as you replace the fuel hoses and rubber seals with the ethanol-proof neoprene like that sold at Autozone, O'Reily's and Kragen.

In some cases it does take a little doing because you have to cut off the factory connectors of the metal fuel lines, flare the metal tube ends, and then slip the new neoprene fuel hose over it and clamp it down on both sides.

In cars with carburetors it takes a little time to cut the replacement seals and gaskets from a sheet of ethanol-proof neoprene.

Any competent mechanic can do it. I've helped six of my neighbors convert their old, carburetor-style cars to the new fuel lines. It takes the better part of a day with two guys working. The carb seals and gaskets take the longest.

But if you had to pay someone to do it, it may not be cost-effective since mechanics in my area charge $65/hour for labor, plus materials.

And on cars of that vintage there are bound to be other problems lurking down the road, like rings and valves, bearings and oil seals.

A lot of people do not have a choice or the financial means to replace their old cars with cars that can run on ethanol.

But legislators in New Mexico and other states that mandate ethanol are deaf, dumb and blind to those voters.

I have a 95 Camry and it doesn't run well on even 10% ethanol and it also caused a drop in MPGs. I have found two places to purchase 100% pure gasoline (pure-gas.org). The bad part is that both are 20 miles from my home. I am in one of the cities monthly for business so I go with a nearly empty tank and four 5 gallon plastic cans. I built a removable frame that fits in my trunk behind my rear seat to hold the cans securely during my trip home.
When I drop to 3/4 tank I fill up with Shell gas and this keeps the amount of ethanol in the tank at a low level. The dilution of the 100% gas also helps to off set the premium cost of the pure gasoline. I use the extra twenty gallons when needed.
I have used the web site to purchase fuel when I travel out of town on vacation since it lists stations across the U.S.

Stan

I believe Highdesertcat is correct, at least about fuel lines. Shortly after I got my 1972 Norton Commando, I replaced the carb that someone had put on it that was too big for it, according to a British bike specialist friend of mine. Since they didn't start putting electric starters on them until 1974, getting the carb right is very important. I put on a brand new 24mm Mikuni carb, and it worked great! Usually starting easily on the first or second kick. For a while. It then started getting harder and harder to get it started, which is not fun when you are about 30 miles from home. I had my buddy take a look at it, and he found what looked like ground rubber in the carb! My brand new Mikuni hopelessly plugged up, by the dissolving rubber fuel line. Funny thing about that, because I replaced the old fuel lines when I replaced the carb, using brand new "fuel hose" that I got at my local auto parts store.

Highdesertcat

A Facebook User, have you checked with your local Toyota dealer about reflashing the EEPROM of the engine computer?

In many cases that updates the timing issue when changing from 100% gasoline to blended, and widens the spark retardation by a few degrees BTC either way depending on the quality of the fuel and altitude.

It's free unless someone not authorized has already tampered with it. They can tell from the baseline read-outs stored in factory-default ROM.

If the flash is the most current one, then look at your fuel injectors. If they leak or don't atomize well, your car will run badly and gas mileage will suffer.

Next is your oxy-sensor. If it is dead or dying your engine will run rich and your catalytic converter will eventually super-heat and self-destruct (no fire risk unless you park on tall grass or weeds).

If none of the above, you'll need an OBD-dump. They can tell from that why your car runs bad, and that could cost you some bucks if you want it fixed.

In any and all cases, it takes more gas pedal to make a car on Ethanol go and mpg goes down in all cases.

Stan

BTW- Virtually all motorcycles have the fuel tank situated directly over the motor, and literally right in the riders lap. On my Norton, the fuel lines are only about 4 inches from the blistering hot exhaust pipes. A leaking fuel hose could very easily ruin my whole day, and part of the next one!

J.C.A.

To Wayne Day. You hit the nail on the head goomba !
The companies blend in this "feel good stuff" and we're all supposed to pay MORE $ for less BTU'S !
Say it with me, OUT LOUD, "CROCK O' EFFLUENT"
The subsidies are an even bigger kick in the testicles to a job market that is dwindling daily because of all the oil industries being "held up" by the current administration.
JMHO.

Highdesertcat- Thanks for the feedback. I changed my o2 sensors about a year ago because they had 100,000 miles on them.
I guess that I should have been clearer in my definition of "my car running badly". It doesn't miss or idle rough and runs perfectly, it just doesn't have as much power on blended fuel as it does with 100% gas and also my mileage suffers. This has been well documented in the press and was confirmed by my Toyota service manager.
Since my car has an OBD1 (pre 96)computer I don't know if it can be reprogrammed but I will ask.
Also, I should have added to my original post that I remove the four 5 gallon cans from my car when I return home and store them in an out building that houses my lawn equipment.
BTW...My lawn equipment really runs better on the pure gasoline.

f5mando

GMO corn ain't fit for ANY animal consumption.

Highdesertcat

A Facebook User, you're welcome.

ALL Engine Management Units can be reprogrammed, some by flashing through the OBD port, others by removing and reinstalling the EPROM or EEPROM chip on the board or replacing it with a "different power-curve" one.

It's done all the time by hobbyists and people who want to tailor their power band and torque curve for special applications like towing or economy.

Find someone you trust to guide you through the process. Most parts stores have specialists.

There are even parts available now that allow you to tune your car's performance through your laptop, while you are on the go.

Ethanol has made the OEMs adjust their EMUs to recognize and accept a much wider range of fuels.

Now they call them Flexfuel vehicles because they can accept anything from 100% alcohol to 100% gasoline, and everything in between.

Phil Gardocki

I know that 10% ethanol doped fuels has about 96% the energy levels of pure gasoline, but our mileage has dropped 10% since it went universal. It is interesting to note that the economic benefits and penalties for ethanol fuels are still being debated by economists. What they do agree on is that it is a "farm subsidy."

Highdesertcat

Farm subsidy or not, it is plain foolish to use feedstock to make fuel. It costs more to make than it returns on the investment.

And while other sources of biodegradable sugars can be used, like sawgrass, there is no need to blend fuels since we have an overabundance of untapped oil resources right under our own feet.

We won't run out of oil for centuries yet. There's no shortage of oil. It just costs more.

Michael F

"Regular" gasoline in Brazil is E40 - 40% Ethanol (from sugarcane, of course). You can't get anything that's *less* alcohol (you can get 100% alcohol if you want, though). Even the cheapest cars there are built to handle it. If they can do it, why can't we?

George

The equator runs through Brazil. The derive their alcohol from cane sugar, and get two harvests. Also they don't really have to worry about cold starts. Alaska has -50F, Brazil is 50F (and maybe (25 in an extreme case)
Also the US populous has reject the AGW hoax.

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