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The EPA claims that automakers are lying, and that E15 is perfectly safe for engines.  (Source: Hemmings Blog)

The EPA is trying to sneak E15 -- a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gas -- into the pump.  (Source: MPR News)

Corn ethanol gives worse gas mileage and, according to some studies, more air pollution than gasoline. It also raises food prices.  (Source: Dave Reede)
EPA: What could go wrong?

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, testifying to Congress on Wednesday implied that automakers like Ford Motor Company (F) and Toyota Motor Company (TYO:7203) were lying when they said higher ethanol blends could corrode seals, fuel lines, and engine components, voiding warranties.

I. EPA -- We Know Better About These Cars Than the People Who Built Them

The EPA is convinced that it knows about the risks better than the automakers who built and tested the cars.

At issue is the question of whether the EPA can authorize E15 fuel -- a 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline -- mix to be sold at pumps, with special stickers to warn customers.  E10 fuel, which contains a smaller 10 percent fraction of ethanol, is currently mandated by many states.  Approving E15 would clear the way for states to possibly mandate it as the exclusive fuel.

Margo Oge, director of the agency's Office of Transportation and Air Quality office, claims that her researchers conducted "extensive" tests using E15, which showed, "no unusual damage was found compared to control vehicles tested with normal gasoline."

Thus far General Motors Comp. (GM), who produces E85 (85 percent ethanol) capable FlexFuel vehicles, has been the only automaker to voice enthusiasm about the proposal.  The rest of the major U.S. and foreign automakers have complained that E15 could destroy engines in cars produced in 2001 or later.

Essentially, both sides are calling the others a liar in the dispute.

II. Ethanol Opposition is Solidifying

There are signs that opposition to the proposal is mounting in Congress.  Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) blasted the measure, stating it wasn't a "science-based decision".

Overall, while green technologies like cellulosic ethanol seem promising, the case for the U.S.'s current ethanol supply -- corn ethanol -- isn't particularly compelling.  Corn ethanol has been shown to raise food prices and delivers worse gas mileage (ethanol exclusive engines can deliver better mileage, but mixed engines deliver worse performance when burning ethanol).  

Some studies have also shown that it produces more polluting gases, such as nitrogen and sulfur-containing compounds, than gasoline over its life cycle, thus deteriorating air quality.  Similarly, it produces more carbon emissions than gasoline.

Still, farming states have managed to push corn ethanol onto the nation.  The move paid off for a lucky few -- corn farmers grew wealthy the recipient of billions of dollars in subsidies and the politicians they donated to were reelected. 

However, the good times for corn ethanol proponents appear to be coming to an end in the U.S.  Just weeks ago the U.S. Congress repealed the $5.6B USD in incentives for corn ethanol.



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Your point?...
By knutjb on 7/11/2011 1:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
Most of you have wandered off the point of the article. The EPA's bureaucrats said we don't care what Ford or Toyota say from their vast engineering knowledge. We, the EPA bureaucracy, will unilaterally do as we please and whose to stop us.

The arbitrary actions from "well intended" government bureaucrats without regard to the end user or the manufacturing community whose products, resultant reputation, and bottom line will be affected.

Government has a horrible record in picking favorites. $6B to corn farmers plus the cost of ethanol is quite the scam.

In the end its the consumer who is left footing the bill for a new vehicle because their aren't any good used ones available. Cash for clunkers ring a bell? Among those needing a new ride the poor take the greatest hit due to limited used car supplies and cash.

This is an ugly picture painted by the nameless, faceless bureaucracy. Why, well, you're too stupid to choose what's in your best interest. Thank you progressives...




RE: Your point?...
By tng on 7/11/2011 11:40:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The arbitrary actions from "well intended" government bureaucrats without regard to the end user or the manufacturing community whose products, resultant reputation, and bottom line will be affected.
Seen this before, where people in large organizations let that organization become their life. They live, drink and breath the organization, and their personal lives are filled with other people who work where they do, they have 24 hour reinforcement that their life's work and opinions are the only ones that matter.

Therefore when outsiders such as Ford, Toyota, or even pesky voters disagree with them, they are secure in the knowledge that they know better. They have no concept of what goes on in someone else's life or business outside the wall of the bureaucracy they live in.


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