A group of ethanol industry representatives has requested that the EPA approve a gasoline blend that increases the ethanol content, up to a possible 15%. This new blend could be called E15, although a lower percentage could be approved. What does this mean for your warranty?
It’s probably too soon to know how this would affect warranties, although many owner’s manuals state that using anything with more than 10% ethanol could lead to damage. Automakers are concerned about the possibility of this increase being approved. Edward B. Cohen, a vice president at Honda of America, was concerned about possible side effects, saying “The impact can be on the emissions system, like the catalytic converter. It can be on the various tubes or couplings that are part of the fuel system, and it could affect the performance of the vehicle, particularly cold starting.” Honda’s position is simply that there hasn’t been enough testing to know for sure, and they (and other automakers and petroleum companies) are pressing for more research that could delay a decision for years. That being said, Cohen noted that automakers could easily make NEW engines to meet higher ethanol content requirements.
Before you freak out and write an angry letter, it seems clear that any decision is a long ways off. Despite the general view that federal agencies are incompetent, it seems unlikely the EPA would do anything without examining the warranty implications. Expect nothing to happen on this for a long time. Thanks bureaucracy!
[Source: New York Times]