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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: Awesome
By zinfamous on 3/14/2011 1:01:31 PM , Rating: 2
Eh, I don't think you get it. Corn farmers grow the corn simply because they are paid to do it--not from selling the corn itself--because it is an unprofitable crop--but because the Feds pay them to do it.

"pork-ridden" is also completely unfair. These guys aren't rolling in cash by growing corn, they are living comfortably sure, but many of the Iowa growers seem to think the whole affair is ridiculous, and would very well be off growing something worth-while, if the Feds didn't pay them to grow non-consumable items (some 80% of the corn now grown in this country is unpalatable--it is grown for animal feed and now ethanol production).

Buffet is not your boogeyman, and neither are the farmers.

RE: Awesome
By bah12 on 3/14/2011 2:53:05 PM , Rating: 3
Hence the /sarcasm tag. The OP was the one who was chastising the "pork" for these farmers. Like you said, and I agree, I hardly think the corn farmer is the source of any corruption/controversy.

RE: Awesome
By wookie1 on 3/14/2011 3:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
You say that "pork-ridden" is unfair, yet bemoan the effects of the pork-fest in the same paragraph! I'm not saying that family farmers are rolling in dough. As you say, they're being paid to grow non-consumable crops instead of something useful for food but rather for this ethanol debacle. So, we waste tax money to pay them to grow ethanol crops that really don't benefit anyone, rather than just growing food. Also, remember that the big corporate farms get subsidized as well, not just the family farm.

RE: Awesome
By mindless1 on 3/15/2011 2:25:22 AM , Rating: 2
If the farmers choose to do it they are to blame. Like welfare, a person can choose not to take the handout, to either grow that "worth-while" crop instead, or find another line of work.

The government does not put a gun to their heads and force them to grow corn! They are leeches.

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