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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 3/15/2011 1:58:51 AM , Rating: 2
up to 10% ethanol content

There is no way you can guarantee that you will only get 10%. When they pipe the fuel from the filling station to the truck, the fuel is separated by a 'plug' of ethanol that gets into even those fuels that are supposed to contain 0%.

There have already been spot tests that have found E10 stations can contain anywhere from 8% to 14% ethanol already. This also means that there is a good chance that it contains anywhere from 1% to 2% water by volume.

In North America there is a funny consumer law that requires the manufacturer to provide you with any product that they specifically require you to use for the maintenance of your car. The more specific they are, the bigger the chance of getting nailed. For example, MINI recently started offering free oil changes for the life of the warranty because the required you to use a specific full synthetic by Castrol in order to keep your warranty.

So instead of specifying that you need to use Shell V-Power with 0% ethanol, they state that you can use anything that contains up to 10% (but in Germany this number is 0%). What does this tell you? Instead of going against the government and possibly having to supply drivers with gasoline, they have taken the other road of letting you run up to 10% and just replacing your fuel pumps and filters when they finally pitch a fit (and they will). I guarantee you they WILL test your fuel and if you are 11% ethanol or higher, they will void the warranty for your drive train. I've seen it happen and there are documented cases of it all over the net and the MINI community.

The problems with the BMW 335's high pressure fuel pumps were also traced back to E10 gasoline with some cars going through as many as 2 pumps per year.

This is definitely one of those cases where you need to be careful not to step in the bullsh*t because it can be might expensive to fix the resultant problems.

RE: Awesome
By Iaiken on 3/15/2011 2:03:13 AM , Rating: 2
If you are interested in reading more see this:

The upper tier of automobile manufacture basically come right out and say (indirectly of course) that ethanol is cr*p and causes them tons of headaches when it comes to reliability.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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