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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: Argg
By FITCamaro on 3/14/2011 3:27:13 PM , Rating: 0
I haven't run a paper filter in any performance vehicle I've ever own. Have never had any issues.

You admittedly changed the filter and cleaned the MAF instead of just doing the second one. I've never met a mechanic who would recommend running a shitty paper filter over a synthetic mesh one with oil on it.

I personally run a Vararam intake on my car.

I also wonder what brand of gas you guys run. Pinging can be caused by low quality fuels and y'all wouldn't be the first I've seen that fills up their Corvette at Hess or Speedway.

RE: Argg
By Samus on 3/14/2011 10:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
My old 3000GT VR4 used to suck paper FRAM filters into the ductwork because they couldn't flow enough. The K&N box filter worked fine for years and maintained a 'factory' appearance. I'm not a huge fan of cold air intakes, especially in the winter and wet weather.

RE: Argg
By FITCamaro on 3/15/2011 7:19:26 AM , Rating: 1
I've run my GTO and Vararam intake, which is an over the radiator style intake, without the hood plugs which stop water from coming in in the pouring down rain without issue. A few drops of water getting in isn't going to hurt anything. Water injection is used all the time in drag applications.

As long as your intake isn't in a position to suck up water if you drive through a large and deep puddle, you're fine. A buddy of mine has his intake down below his car and has never had an issue. Unless he ran through a 2 foot deep puddle for a few seconds with the filter fully submerged, he won't have an issue.

VR4s were fun cars. Rode in one once. AWD twin turbo with all wheel steering. Just too damn small for me. I tried to sit in one and at 6'1 215 pounds, I couldn't get my knee under the steering wheel with the seat all the way back.

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