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The fight over E15 is not over yet

The Environmental Protection Agency has given the approval for retailers to sell 15% ethanol blended fuel. The fuel we purchase at most gas stations around the country today already has 10% ethanol mixed in. The EPA and other supporters of the plan have wanted to add an additional 5% ethanol to the fuel mix for cars built after 2001.
 
"Today, the last significant federal hurdle has been cleared to allow consumers to buy fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15)," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This gets us one step closer to giving the American consumer a real choice at the pump. The public has a right to choose between imported oil and home-grown energy and today’s action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advances that goal."
 
The goal of the plan is to help reduce the dependence on foreign oil by using ethanol derived from corn.
 
“In the eyes of the federal government, E15 is a legal fuel for sale to cars, pickups, and SUVs made since 2001,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “With all i’s dotted and t’s crossed as far as EPA is concerned, our undivided focus will turn to addressing state regulatory issues, identifying retailers wishing to offer E15, and paving the way to greater use of domestically produced ethanol."
 
There are still other issues that have to be overcome before E15 makes it to pumps. These issues include pending litigation and threats from Washington. The U.S. House of Representatives has previously threatened to block the EPA's plans to force E15 sales at stations around the country. Many still argue that the use of E15 could cause millions of dollars in damage to engines in vehicles around the country.
 
One of the organizations opposing the rollout of E15 is the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute or OPEI. According to OPEI, government tests show that E15 is harmful to outdoor power equipment, boats, marine engines, and other non-road engine products. Adding an additional option at the pump could confuse consumers leading to misfueling and damage of engines according to OPEI.
 
"For the first time in American history, fuel used for some automobiles may no longer safe for any non-road products. It may, in fact, destroy or damage generators, chain saws, utility vehicles, lawn mowers, boats and marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, and more," says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, one of the industry groups who have been sending warnings to the federal government about E15.
 
Keiser added, "[The] EPA purports to educate tens of millions of Americans using hundreds of millions of engine products, asserting it will educate these users with a 3 inch by 3 inch pump label. It's frighteningly inadequate."
 
Some major automakers also argue E15 could harm engines in cars and trucks as well.

Sources: Autoblog, Wisconsin Ag Connection



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Option is the key word
By dbeers on 6/19/2012 10:22:07 AM , Rating: 2
It would be one thing if it was truly an option - I see this as the EPA ramming it's agenda down our collective throats. In NY it used to be up to the station what fuel they sold - they are now REQUIRED to sell only E10. Fortunately there is an Indian reservation nearby that gets it's fuel out of Canada, and I can still buy REAL 100% gasoline, and I consistently get 2.5-3 MPG better in my '12 escape running non-ethanol laced fuel. This is Ethanol's dirty little secret; you will get lower fuel mileage as it doesn't contain the energy of gasoline, so it takes more to get the job done. It does not benefit consumers in any way.




RE: Option is the key word
By smackababy on 6/19/2012 11:16:38 AM , Rating: 3
This is where technology and pricing make a huge difference. If I could get something similar to gasoline, with half the energy, but at a quarter of the cost, I'd be fine with that.

E15 will be the same cost and deliver less energy. Not a good deal.


RE: Option is the key word
By Masospaghetti on 6/19/2012 11:25:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I can still buy REAL 100% gasoline, and I consistently get 2.5-3 MPG better in my '12 escape


Sorry, have to call you out on this one. 2.5-3 MPG less is about a 10% decrease. You will not see a 10% reduction in economy from running E10 - ethanol is not a filler with zero energy content.

Since ethanol has about 75% of the energy content of gasoline, a mix of 90% gas and 10% ethanol has 97.5% as much energy as pure gasoline.


RE: Option is the key word
By Nutzo on 6/19/2012 1:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
That's not how it works. The ethanol causes changes how efficently the gasoline burns, and results in WORSE milage than expected using simple math. The actual milage loss depends on the type of driving (highway/city) and how efficently the car works with ethanol.

I just got back from a week long driving vacation where I tracked my mileage. Some states had 10% ethanol in the gas and some have no ethanol. My milage using 10% was around 20MPG, using gas with no ethanol I averaged between 23 and 25 MPG, even though I was driving 5-10% faster (75-80 MPH) due to the higher speed limits. This was in a 2006 Toyota Sienne V6.

If you don't believe me, look up the old test done by consumer reports when they tested E85 (15% ethanol) against gas only.

Quote: Overall fuel economy on the Tahoe dropped from an already low 14 mpg overall to 10. In highway driving, gas mileage decreased from 21 to 15 mpg; in city driving, it dropped from 9 mpg to 7.

That's a 29% drop in milage on the highway and 22% for city driving for 15% ethanol, worse than the 15-25% I saw on my trip.


RE: Option is the key word
By FITCamaro on 6/19/2012 1:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure you realize the mistake you made but E85 is 85% ethanol...


RE: Option is the key word
By Nutzo on 6/19/2012 3:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
My bad on the E85, although the study still shows that even cars designed specifically for 85% ethanol will still have much worse milage.

Still doesn't change the drop in milage I see in my own cars (which like most cars, are obviously are not optimized for Ethanol)


RE: Option is the key word
By FITCamaro on 6/20/2012 9:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
Cars designed for ethanol will always get worse mileage since there's less energy. So you need more fuel. About 30% more with E85. Even with higher compression you can't get back all the efficiency.


RE: Option is the key word
By PaFromFL on 6/19/2012 1:48:28 PM , Rating: 3
Not true. Based on long trips on I-95 back in 2008, I discovered that E-10 reduced my gas mileage around 10% with my 300C Hemi and around 7% with my 330i. Around town, my Saturn Astras suffered about a 10% loss (with a larger margin of error). This is much worse than the expected the energy density loss. Perhaps highly optimized modern engines are very sensitive to fuel quality.

No one seems to include the energy wasted when ethanol gas destroys equipment. E10 clogged my 2005 boat engine carburetor. The fuel filter was pristine, but the carburetor was clogged with grit that precipitated out when the fuel evaporated. E10 dissolved the fuel lines in my three Ryobi weed wackers, spilling gasoline in my garage. E10 split the gas tank in my lawnmower. E10 has destroyed older boats with internal gas tanks.

But a least I can take comfort that the corn bastards are getting rich off our misery.


RE: Option is the key word
By Lerianis on 6/19/2012 2:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, send those instances to your Congressmen with photographic proof and threaten to sue the government if they don't rethink this.

What people miss is that MANY of these 'mandates' by the government are illegal because they try to intervene and interfere in the free market, something that courts numerous times have told them that they cannot do.


RE: Option is the key word
By dbeers on 6/19/2012 4:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
You can do all the theoretical calculations all you want, but I've regularly tracked mileage on every tank for the past 8 years, and saw the same thing with my '04 Ranger (both veihcles efficient DOHC all aluminum 4-cylinder engines). It's consistently about 2 MPG better with real gas than E10. I'd gladly pay more for better fuel than E10/E15 any day (but it actually costs $.22-$.33/gal less on the res!). unfortunately with the state mandates, most people don't have much of choice anymore.

Your results with a larger displacement & heavier vehicle may vary, I'm just reporting what I have personally experienced over a long period of time already.


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