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Ford, Toyota, and other automakers say that using E15 can void warranties and lead to early engine death.  (Source: Team BHP)

GM is the only major U.S. automaker to support the plan.  (Source: AP Photo)
New proposal would allow up to 15 percent ethanol in fuel

Corn ethanol is dead, long live corn ethanol.  That's the message that the United States Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson seemingly sent when her agency proposed allowing blends of up to 15 percent ethanol at the pump.  The proposal comes just weeks after Congress repealed the $5.6B USD federal subsidy for corn ethanol.

I. E15: Killing Your Autos, One Engine at a Time

Automakers are outraged at the proposal.  Ford Motor Company (F) and Toyota Motor Company (TYO:7203) led the coalition of the unwilling.

In letters to House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming's ranking Republican member, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (Milwaukee - Wisc.), the automakers rip the plan, which they say will likely void vehicle owners' warranties.

While the EPA promises to use a special orange and black label at the pumps where E15 fuel is being vended, officials at Ford and Toyota fear that won't be enough warning for customers.  They point out that most gasoline engines aren’t designed to use ethanol, which can cause excessive engine wear and engine failure.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally has criticized the U.S. government's financial support of corn ethanol.  Mr. Mulally indicates that he would like to see the government instead exclusively support electrified vehicles.

Chrysler LLC also opposed the plan to allow E15 at the pump.  Writes Jody Trapasso, Chrysler external affairs SVP, "While Chrysler has been a strong advocate of renewable fuels, we have concerns about the potential harmful effects of E15 in engines and fuel systems that were not designed for use of that fuel."

In response to the letters, Rep. Sensenbrenner has fired off a letter of his own to Ms. Jackson at the EPA, warning about the engine damage and telling her, "In difficult economic times, consumers need to get more miles from a gallon of gas and extend the lives of their cars."

II. EPA: Problem? What Problem?

The EPA defended the proposal claiming that research by the U.S. Department of Energy showed E15 to be safe to run on engines produced after 2001.  They claim the DOE extensively verified "any increase would not have an adverse impact."

The statement continues, "The administration will continue to take steps, guided by science and the law, to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and increase our use of home-grown fuels."

Clearly the two sides don't see eye to eye here.  The automakers, who actually engineered the cars, say E15 will destroy engines of vehicles produced since 2001.  But the EPA and DOE claim to have secret insight that the automakers don't, arguing the vehicles will be just fine.

Besides Ford, Toyota, and Chrysler, the other dissenting parties included Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (ETR:BMW); Daimler AG (ETR:DAI)’s Mercedes Benz; Honda Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7267); Hyundai Motor Comp. (SEO:005380); Kia Motors Corp. (SEO:000270); Mazda Motor Corp. (TYO:7261); Nissan Motor Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7201); Volkswagen AG (ETR:VOW); and Volvo Car Corp., owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Comp.

Noticeably absent among the protesters is General Motors Comp. (GM).  GM was the chief supporter of ethanol fuel vehicles.  Most of its lineup consists of FlexFuel vehicles, which can run on ethanol or gasoline.

The EPA may bend to the will of the industry -- after all, just weeks ago it cut the mandatory amount of ethanol in fuel blends to the lowest level in three years.


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RE: How about we...
By Iaiken on 7/6/2011 1:56:22 PM , Rating: -1
Venezuela. dictatorial regime

Somebody has been brainwashed.

First of all, Chavez was democratically elected and has BEEN democratically elected ever since because the standard of living for the average Venezuelan is now higher than it ever has been before in the history of the country.

- All citizens have access to free Universal Health Care
- All citizens have access to free education (up to high school)
- Infant mortality is the lowest of any South American nation
- Poverty rate is one of the lowest in South America (used to be one of the highest)
- Access to clean drinking water is increasing
- Famine is decreasing
- The constitution was introduced via referendum vote by the people.
- Literacy is approaching 100% (in all age groups).
- The charter of rights is available in a little blue book and is the single best seller in the country ever since.
- Under the constitution, the state pays housewives.

If you are wondering why the US media and world media have such different perspectives on Venezuela, you need only look to the the 2002 coup d'état attempt. Unamazingly, the US media was all over praising the coup as a victory for democracy like a fat kid on a skittle. The coup had received funding from the US government via the National Endowment for Democracy that was used to fund opposition (a crime of sedition) and to bribe military personnel (a crime of corruption) to bring them on side for the coup.

I've seen Venezuelan television and there is absolutely no censorship. This is a fabrication by the US media, the privately owned Venezuelan media rakes Chavez with negative opinion and criticism. Anti-Chavez demonstrations are still allowed to this date. What's more, capitalism has never had it better in Venezuela and the rich there still manage to get richer.

Before the coup, a brilliant bit of planning went down by the opposition. They scheduled an anti-Chavez demonstration on the same day as a pro-Chavez march under the restriction that the two groups be kept apart in order to keep things peaceful. Each would have a turn to march by the presidential palace; pro during the morning and anti during the afternoon. Both groups formed in the early morning, but shortly after forming, the organizers of the anti group directed the march to the presidential palace. As the groups clashed, gunfire broke out that the local and US media then blamed on Chavez supporters. All of the people who were injured or killed had been shot by high velocity rifle rounds, often to the head. The military then stepped in and staged a coup after a televised message.

The problem with this is that the message (which specifically mentioned the shooting and killing of civilians by snipers) was later revealed to have been taped days before the event had happened. They then fired on their own people and blamed it on Chavez, it was all a setup. In spite of this glaring discrepancy being made known on BBC world and other international media, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer likewise blamed the shootings on Chavez and his supporters. The US media then ran with the story as rubber stamped by the White House.

The plotters then announced that Chavez had resigned, he hadn't he had been kidnapped. The following morning, the national assembly, the courts, the electoral board and the ombudsman's office were all suspended and dismantled. In one morning, the democracy that had elected Chavez was demolished and a dictator sworn in to chants of 'Democracy'. The media was consolidated under the new government and celebrations were televised.

But there was a problem, independent talk radio then confirmed that the resignation was a sham and something amazing happened. The public didn't go to work that day, they got up out of their homes, they got on buses, bikes, packed into cars or anything else that would take them to Caracas. Millions of people descended upon the capital and demanded their elected president back. Faced with such people power, the plotters fled to Miami with the assistance of the US government and the palace and the presidential guard of Chavez was able to take it without a single shot and by that night, he was back in power and all government reinstated.

The US government denied all knowledge of the coup, despite CIA documents showing that they were actively seeking people within the Venezuelan government and military who were sympathetic to a coup. After these CIA documents came to light, they changed their tune and said that they had used this information to warn Chavez, something that the Venezuelan government denies.

So really it's up to you as to who you want to believe...

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