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EPA Approves E15 Fuel

Posted in Car Tech, Legal, News, Oil Industry by Kurt Ernst | January 24th, 2011 | 5 Responses |

Buried deep in the bottom of the news last week was the fact that the EPA gave its approval for E15 fuel to be sold alongside current gasoline and gasoline / ethanol blends. If you own a motorcycle, use gas-powered lawn equipment and drive cars older than the 2007 model year, this is potentially bad news. Why the concern? There are several reasons, but the big one is that fuel formulated with 15% ethanol may damage plastic and rubber components used in automotive fuel systems prior to 2007. In motorcycles using plastic fuel tanks, there is already significant evidence that E10 formulations cause the plastic to distort, creating the potential of a fuel leak and associated fire. If you’re the owner of a small gas station or convenience store, the news gets even bleaker.

Since E15, like diesel fuel, can’t be used by every car on the road, station owners may be required to install separate tanks just for E15 fuel. Installing new underground tanks (and, presumably, more pumps) is a major financial burden, particularly when the product in question has limited demand. Worse, what happens when you need gas in your bike (or pre-2007 car) and find that only E15 is available? Do you roll the dice and hope that one tank won’t cause permanent damage? Will that even be an option, since E15 is technically not “approved” for pre-2007 vehicles?

You can call me an alarmist, but a group of engine manufacturers (the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) recently sued to block the approval of E15 fuel. If they’ve got concerns that E15 may not be safe to store in existing underground storage tanks, or use in outdoor power equipment or older engines, maybe you need to be concerned as well.

Source: New York Times

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5 Responses

  1. The next few year, we will be looking at a slow introduction of this fuel to our gas stations. I think that the big ones will lead with the shift, because they have more storage tanks and pumps, so the greener gas will have a tough job finding it’s way into the cars’ tanks. Personally, I like the idea of E15 for my 2009 gasoline engine car…

  2. Set says:

    The only good part of ethanol is the increased octane rating. Everything else about it is terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible. The EPA should burn in a fire of ethanol for this. I can’t just add a de-ethanol for my 1998 TJ like people could do for leaded gas. This is a fundamental change that benefits no one.

  3. ADMfirst says:

    I think ethanol is great and i dont care what it does to your car!

  4. Kurt Ernst says:

    Set, great point. Cars that required leaded fuel (primarily as a valve lubricant) can run on unleaded with an additive, but there’s no way to reduce the ethanol content in E15 fuel. That’s a great product idea if you have any chemical engineer friends, though.

  5. eddie_357 says:

    one of biggest problems with that amount of ethanol is moisture due to changing temperatures not good.stabil additive will help out somewhat.but to store a classic car,you will have to drain the tank even with 10% ethahol