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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 Iaiken on 3/14/2011 1:22:11 PM , Rating: 3
Apparently you've never seen this study:

The overall results of the program were not conclusive insofar as no clear trends in the overall performance of all equipment could be established. New and used equipment such as shear valves, flow limiters, submersible turbine pumps, and hoses generally performed well. Some new and used equipment demonstrated a reduced level of safety or performance, or both, during either long-term exposure or performance tests. Dispenser meter/manifold/valve assemblies in particular demonstrated largely noncompliant results. Nozzles, breakaways, and swivels, both new and used, experienced noncompliant results during performance testing. Responses of nonmetals, primarily gaskets and seals, were involved with these noncompliances.

There is a reason why Germans boycotted 91 octane fuel that was forced upon them by their government. BMW had previously tested 91 with 10% and 15% ethanol and ruled it in non-compliance with your warranty because of the extensive damage that it could do to the aluminum valve train, high pressure fuel pumps and injector mixers. If you took your car in for any of the above problems, BMW/MINI will test your fuel and anything above 5% ethanol is non-compliant and voids your warranty because both the warranty and owners manual states specifically that you must use 91 octane with 0% ethanol.

For cars that are dialed in for ethanol and do not use aluminum valve trains/manifolds or heated injector mixers, or high pressure fuel pumps that were not designed to deal with the increased density that water so absorbed by the ethanol causes, or if your classic car doesn't have a fully sealed gas tank.

No thanks! Owners of such cars need to get together and throw a class action against the EPA to prevent them from mandating ethanol in 91 octane. At the very least, consumers should have a choice and companies should not be held liable for designs predating the addition of ethanol being adversely affected by its use.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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