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The group thinks more testing should be conducted first

While some automakers are in favor of renewable fuels, one group in particular is in no rush to bring E15 to the market.

According to a new report from The Detroit News, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers -- which consists of Detroit’s Big Three, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp. and others -- feels that E15 could turn out to be troublesome for vehicles if proper testing isn't conducted first.

"It is not in the long-term interest of the government, automakers, fuel providers or the ethanol industry itself to find out down the road that vehicle problems are occurring from rushing E15 into the national marketplace," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. 

"EPA approved an E15 waiver before sufficient testing was completed to gauge the cumulative effects of this more corrosive fuel. Ethanol can permeate and degrade rubber, plastic, metal and other materials in vehicles not designed to handle it.”

E15 is a renewable fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of E15 for 2001 model year vehicles and newer, and automakers like Volkswagen AG, GM and Ford have even approved it for some of their latest models. 

But worries remain about whether the EPA is pushing E15 onto the market too quickly without proper testing of its effects on vehicles first. Automakers like Chrysler still haven't approved the fuel, and even say its use could void warranties.

Almost all of the U.S.' gas pumps offer E10, which is a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. Some automakers argue that the added ethanol in E15 could be more taxing on vehicles than the E10. 

This isn't the first time automakers have spoke out against E15. Last year, a study backed by American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers found that the E15 formula damaged engines in two of the eight vehicles used in high mileage tests. The cars in the study were EPA-approved to run on E15. 

E15 in particular has been a hot topic this year. In August, the EPA froze a planned bump in ethanol levels that was set for next year. The freeze came after state efforts to ban E15, and House debates on whether to cut the blending requirements entirely.

In 2012, only 4.55 billion bushels of corn was used to produce ethanol, which was down from 5 billion bushels in 2011.  About 13.33 billion gallons of ethanol was produced last year, missing the goal of 15.2 billion gallons.

Ethanol opponents say the use of ethanol blends takes away from the nation's corn crops, and livestock farmers saw the cost of feed inflated by having to compete with ethanol. In addition, environmentalists say corn ethanol produces more emissions over its life cycle than oil.

In September of this year, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said American consumers are paying between 50 cents and $1.50 per gallon less for gasoline due to the addition of ethanol blends. The analysis further said that consumers are saving from $700 billion to about $2.6 trillion annually on gas because of ethanol, and that oil prices would be $15 to $40 a barrel higher than they are today without ethanol added in. 

Source: The Detroit News

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E15 fuel
By Richard875yh5 on 11/12/2013 9:33:19 AM , Rating: 2
If given a choice of using E10 or E15, customers will buy E10 and E15 will have no chance of being successful.

RE: E15 fuel
By retrospooty on 11/12/2013 9:39:32 AM , Rating: 2
That doesn't in any way justify the insane example of govt. waste that is the ethanol project.

RE: E15 fuel
By Shadowmaster625 on 11/12/2013 9:55:35 AM , Rating: 2
It is only waste from a certain point of view. If a 10 million engines are destroyed 5 years sooner than they otherwise would have been, then that is at least 4 million new cars sold 5 years sooner than they otherwise would have been. It's a GDP pump. Since they cant raise GDP organically this is all they have left to do.

RE: E15 fuel
By retrospooty on 11/12/2013 10:12:49 AM , Rating: 2
LOL... That is the thinking that GM had for the past 30 years. If you build a car that lasts, you lose future sales... Unfortunately, GM purposely building cars that don't last, just lost them future sales to Japan and other countries.

RE: E15 fuel
By eBob on 11/13/2013 9:55:36 AM , Rating: 3
Classic Broken Window Fallacy.

RE: E15 fuel
By lagomorpha on 11/14/2013 8:49:12 AM , Rating: 2
If a 10 million engines are destroyed 5 years sooner than they otherwise would have been, then that is at least 4 million new cars sold 5 years sooner than they otherwise would have been. It's a GDP pump.

So... what you're saying is that instead of consumers spending their money locally, they're forced into buying new cars from overseas? You're right, it is like a GDP suction pump. (Yeah yeah I guess some people might make the mistake of buying an American car)

RE: E15 fuel
By MrBungle123 on 11/12/2013 10:49:30 AM , Rating: 5
Except we won't be given a choice, they'll mandate it just like they did E10... if I had a choice I'd buy just straight gasoline.

RE: E15 fuel
By Adonlude on 11/12/2013 8:22:15 PM , Rating: 2
Another aspect of ethanol is it allows the refineries to give you crappier lower octane gas. The ethanol is an octane booster that then brings total octane rating back to standard.

RE: E15 fuel
By inperfectdarkness on 11/13/2013 5:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
I've yet to see any E85 blend with 93 octane rating. I don't even think that's possible, unless you're mixing it with something inert, rather than gasoline.

I've said my peace on this issue many, many times over. Ethanol is a great idea--beset by government subsidies (in a time of fiscal depravity), a lack of REAL consumer education, a lack of supporting infrastructure, and a lack of vehicles designed to capitalize on ethanol--not just make it an "also ran".

The facts show that there is more than sufficient crop-land in the USA to feed its own citizens. I have no problem with using everything above %120 of that for ethanol crops (not necessarily corn--switchgrass, etc). I think we can retrofit our waste-removal/recycling systems to generate ethanol in large quantities.

I also think that virtually every vehicle made in the last 10 years will handle E15 without issue, and that most all vehicles made within the last 25 can handle E15 with little more than a filter change (thanks to electronic timing).

One of the reasons I'm such a huge supporter of turbocharged engines, is that they have the potential to make the transition between different fuels relatively pain-free. Thanks to flashable ECU's, it's entirely possible to factory-set different timing/fuel maps for a car...simply based off what fuels are being ran. While this won't inherently increase your fuel economy, it will mean that you get the most out of the fuels you run, be it E0 or E85.

In layman's terms, that means that your commuter car will probably start with 250hp on E10 and make 330hp on E85. Once people realize this potential advantage (i.e. see real-world results), MFG's will be free to make smaller, equivalent HP engines (as compared to 93-octane-only engines), and consumers will realize that ethanol is actually an efficient fuel--based on hp delivered per unit of fuel consumed.

That's a long, hard road though. I can't even get the DT masses here to seem to understand the concept--and we're (supposedly) the "smart geeks" of the world.

RE: E15 fuel
By Motoman on 11/12/2013 12:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
That assumes that the average consumer knows what the difference is, and what the issues are. They don't.

That assumes that the average consumer cares. They don't.

That assumes that the average consumer even thinks about WTF they are doing at any given time...they don't.

What will happen is people buying the cheapest gas at the pump, because consumers *are* price-motivated. Then they will have car trouble. Then they will be told they violated their warranty, and they have to pay out of pocket to fix it.

Then something bad will happen.

RE: E15 fuel
By Mint on 11/12/2013 1:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
And that's exactly what happened.

Also consider that gas stations want to sell E10 while convincing drivers that it's just as good as E0, because ethanol costs less. Today, CBOT ethanol costs $1.70/gallon, despite subsidies being gone, while RBOB gas costs $2.55/gallon.

Ethanol opponents blamed the mandate for E10's adoption, but if you look at the mechanism for implementing the mandate - RIN credits - it would only take a penny per gallon more profit on E0 to overcome the economic incentives of RFS pre-2013, which is when E10 took over.

RE: E15 fuel
By Motoman on 11/12/2013 1:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
Beyond that, though, is the irrefutable fact that making food from fuel is a horrifically bad idea to start with.

Ethanol from corn, sugar cane, etc. should actually be illegal.

If you can figure out how to generate ethanol in a fiscally-responsible manner without using arable land that could otherwise be used for food crops, and/or without using food crops themselves, then knock yourself out.

Otherwise...knock it off.

RE: E15 fuel
By Mint on 11/12/2013 2:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but only for future security purposes. Currently, growing more food doesn't help anyone unless we give it away, and we don't know if we'll be short of arable land in the future, or if corn will even erode the land being used now. It's possible that making corn ethanol illegal may not even help sustainable land use.

But given the uncertainty about those issues, it certainly would be nice to know that resource is untouched for use when needed.

RE: E15 fuel
By Motoman on 11/12/2013 4:07:29 PM , Rating: 2
You're woefully mistaken about the issue...

Using corn to make fuel instead of food has nothing to do with whether or not there's enough food to go least not in the USA. But it does make everything cost more, from sweeteners and cooking oils to beef, pork, and chicken. Which in the end has the effect of making all Americans poorer.

Assuming that they like to eat.

RE: E15 fuel
By Reclaimer77 on 11/12/2013 4:21:54 PM , Rating: 2
You're woefully mistaken about the issue...

Tell me something I don't know.

Debating with Mint about this stuff is an exercise in futility.

RE: E15 fuel
By lagomorpha on 11/15/2013 11:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
In fairness, an increase in the cost of corn syrup, corn oil, and meat wouldn't be the worst thing for some Americans. It might actually give fast food restaurants an incentive to use less fat and sugar because they would actually have a cost associated with them and encourage people to stop guzzling gallons of soda a day.

Not that I think it's a great move, mixing ethanol with gasoline is a horrible idea.

RE: E15 fuel
By marvdmartian on 11/13/2013 7:38:49 AM , Rating: 2
Therein lies the problem.....consumers may not get the choice.

Typical of the current administration in Washington DC; never mind what the people WANT. Tell them what you KNOW they NEED, shove it down their throats, and IGNORE their protests!

Big Brother, at it's very finest!

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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