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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 marvdmartian on 3/15/2011 8:53:20 AM , Rating: 1
Your logic is flawed, somewhat.

It's not just the amount of ethanol production from the fossil fuel used (speaking of which, you can't use ethanol to run farm machinery, which skews the whole equation even further).

It's the energy density of ethanol, versus fossil fuels. Ethanol doesn't give you the same energy per volume unit, so you need more of it to get the same amount of energy production.

The greater the ratio of ethanol to gasoline, the lower the energy production. My old work truck, which could be powered by E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline), got 2/3 the fuel economy as it did with E10 gasoline (the current standard). Instead of the 15-16 mpg we got (city type driving) previously, with E10 gasoline, we suddenly plunged to 10 mpg on E85.

E15 won't give as drastic of a change in economy, but it WILL make a difference. And this doesn't even touch the fact that we continue to use land previously used for food crops for fuel production. And that just ain't right!!


RE: What About Y2K and Older Cars
By RU482 on 3/21/2011 3:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, it would be much better if we went with the Brazilian model and cut down the rain forests to make sugar for ethanol


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