Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers Says EPA Rushing E15 to Market, Fuel Could Damage Vehicles
November 12, 2013 8:55 AM
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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
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.”
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
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.
The Detroit News
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RE: E15 fuel
11/13/2013 5:32:12 AM
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.
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