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More ethanol coming to pumps near you
New blend will work in any vehicle built back to 2001

The EPA is set to finalize use of a new ethanol/gasoline that might be in pumps at your local station this summer.

The current 10% blend will be replaced by a 15% blend that is expected to be available in time for the heavy summer driving season. The EPA approved the raising of the ethanol content to 15% in January -- corn farmers and the ethanol industry understandably welcomed the ruling.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson told the Senate Agriculture Committee during a hearing, "We are now in the process of completing a rule that will establish national labeling. We expect to issue a final rule in the next few months." The labeling will help protect the consumer from using the new fuel in an unapproved engine.

The EPA will officially register E15 this spring, which is a requirement before the fuel can be sold at the pump. The agency has also recently received the emissions and health information to support the registration and is currently reviewing that information.

Not everyone is behind the plan to raise ethanol content in gasoline through. Critics say that using more corn for fuel will drive already high corn process up to even higher levels. Ethanol trade group Growth Energy notes that more ethanol will help people fighting fuel prices at the pump. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said, "Lifting the regulatory barriers preventing higher blends of U.S.-made ethanol from getting into the pump would start to push gas prices down right away."

The new E15 fuel can be used in all vehicles built since 2001. That means that 74% of all gasoline burning vehicles on the road will be able to use the new fuel accounting for 85% of gasoline demand. 

UPDATED: Justin Starkey, owner of VMP Tuning, had this to say about the new 15% ethanol blend and what it means for fuel economy and auto enthusiasts:

It basically hurts everyone… 

Fuel economy goes down, because of the lower energy content in the ethanol.

If you have a turbocharged or supercharge vehicle with high fuel demands at WOT, it will push your injector and fuel pump duty cycles higher.

Having more ethanol in the gas makes tuning cars more difficult and more inconsistent.  The ethanol level in the gasonline is not always held at a full 15%.  It can be all over the place from one fillup to the next.  If your car is tuned with a wideband while running 15% ethanol, and then you run fuel with no ethanol in it, you’re air to fuel ratio can shift over a point richer. This is huge from a tuning standpoint in terms of power and efficiency.  The OEMs have realized this and most 2011+ Fords including the Mustang GT and Shelby GT500 use widebands from the factory.  These vehicles are closed loop at WOT (wide open throttle) and are constantly correcting air/fuel ratio at all operating conditions.  The PCM keeps the actual A/F and the commanded A/F the same, this is great for performance, efficiency, reliability, and safety.

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RE: What About Y2K and Older Cars
By Dr of crap on 3/14/2011 12:36:06 PM , Rating: 2
There will be seperate pumps for E10 and E15.
That is why there was such a fight to get the E15 out. The cost to a station is high.
And Auto makers don't like it either.

The last I heard about a week ago was that the roll out was delayed.
I think this story is old!

RE: What About Y2K and Older Cars
By wookie1 on 3/14/2011 12:44:19 PM , Rating: 2
Will there be any requirement for stations to carry both? If not, I predict that only the E15 will actually be available. All you'll be able to do write a sad letter to Obama/Lisa Jackson about having to trash your perfectly functioning car for a new one so that they can laugh and then ignore you. Or if they reply, they can let you know about what fine vehicles that GM and Chrysler are producing.

RE: What About Y2K and Older Cars
By rcc on 3/14/2011 3:11:52 PM , Rating: 2
As long as they are willing to right the check, I'm ok with it!

Ok, no, I"m not, but I'll fake it.

By RedemptionAD on 3/16/2011 1:36:49 AM , Rating: 2
Money from the government is money from the people. If you are going to get money from the government, you should be providing something that is worth it for the people it comes from.

RE: What About Y2K and Older Cars
By Dr of crap on 3/14/2011 3:43:31 PM , Rating: 2
Since there are a fair number of older cars, and since the newness will cause uncertainty, and since you are NOT FORCED to use E15, most will want to use E10.

SO the stations will have to offer both E10, and E15.

RE: What About Y2K and Older Cars
By wookie1 on 3/14/2011 10:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not forced to use it, the stations won't be forced to use it, but yet that may be all that is offered to them. It would be expensive for refiners to double the blends that they create. And many areas get their gasoline from pipelines, it would be twice as difficult to handle additional products through the pipelines.

Also, it seems likely that in the open, the new rules would "allow" E15, while also in the fine print or through some other more stealthy means it would be forced. Why would the EPA bother to spend so much effort and controversy on this rule if they didn't intend to make sure that it accomplished the end goal?

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