New Draft Article on 15% Ethanol Gas
Hello readers. It's been awhile since I've posted on Sportsman. Some of you may NOT be aware that EPA's approved 15% ethanol gas (E-15) will be showing up in stations soon, most likely before the end of this year for sure. I've drafted an article for my website (PeteLandrysRealGas.com) and for newspapers in an attempt to inform and educate the public about this new fuel. I'd appreciate hearing from you on the article. Again, this is a draft and will likely go through a few more revisions before I finalize it.
15% Ethanol Gasoline May Be in Stations by the End of 2012 By Pete Landry – June 24, 2012
Readers of my website (PeteLandrysRealGas.com) may recall I wrote an article in 2011 about Growth Energy, a lobby group for a large group of ethanol manufacturing plants in the Midwest petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in early 2009 to increase the ethanol content of motor fuels from the current 10% maximum to 15%, a 50% increase (see the website’s “Ethanol Articles” page for original article titled: “15% Ethanol Gasoline – A Potential Crisis Developing”). The EPA allowed input into this proposal and were inundated with replies, almost all negative. Despite the response, the EPA began testing vehicles with 15% ethanol. In December, 2010, the EPA issued “conditional approval” for the use of 15% ethanol gasoline (E-15) in 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. Then, in January, 2011, they extended the approval to use this new gasoline in 2001 thru 2006 cars and light trucks, despite lawsuits against the EPA from over eight different groups. The biggest concern expressed by litigants was the potential for “misfueling”, or using this gasoline in equipment which was not designed to operate with this fuel.
In the EPA’s approval of this new fuel, they made the following statement on their website:
What Vehicles and Engines MAY NOT USE E-15 ?
• All motorcycles.
• All vehicles with heavy-duty engines, such as school buses, transit buses, and delivery trucks.
• All off-road vehicles, such as boats and snowmobiles (includes four wheelers and jet skis).
• All engines in off-road equipment, such as lawnmowers (all lawn and garden tools) and chain saws.
• All 2000 model-year and older cars (and light trucks).
(Gasoline powered home generators cannot operate on E-15 gasoline either)
The EPA has now completed all regulatory requirements necessary to authorize retailers to sell this new fuel. Ethanol plants have registered to become authorized to sell the ethanol to blenders. It is expected that E-15 may start showing up in retail stations in Louisiana before the end of 2012. It is most likely this new fuel will be sold in major, branded stations (Exxon/Mobil, Shell, Chevron, etc). Independent gas stations, grocery and convenience store have expressed serious concerns about the liability associated with selling this fuel when a customer’s equipment is damaged, exposing them to lawsuits. The EPA indicates that it is VOLUNTARY, NOT MANDATORY for stations to sell this new fuel. Retailers are CAUTIONED NOT to let their gas supplier force them into selling this fuel against their will. Also, many grocery and convenience stores may have older underground storage tanks and pumps which may not be compatible with E-15.
In my continued research of E-15, I have learned that despite EPA’s claim that this new fuel is safe to use in all 2001 and newer passenger cars and light trucks, ALL automobile manufacturers, domestic and foreign alike, warn owners of 2001 and newer passenger cars and light trucks NOT to use gasoline with greater than 10% ethanol and further say that any damage caused by the use of gas with greater than 10% ethanol will void the vehicle warranty! E-15 should NEVER be used in vehicles model year 2000 or older as manufacturers warn that engine damage will likely occur. So, PLEASE read your owners manual carefully before considering putting this fuel in your 2001 or newer car or light truck, despite the EPA claim that it is safe. The ONLY vehicles which may use E-15 without the risk of damage are “Flex” vehicles, which are designed to tolerate all concentrations of ethanol, up to and including E-85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline).
I am very concerned that despite pump label warnings, some consumers may be tempted to try this new fuel in equipment for which it is NOT designed. It will likely be priced about $0.10/gallon lower than E-10. But, don’t fall for the cheaper price temptation. As a reminder, here is the EPA approved label which EPA requires to appear on all pumps which will be selling 15% ethanol gasoline.
In addition to 2000 and older model passenger cars and light trucks, this fuel is also NOT COMPATIBLE with marine engines (see article on 'Ethanol Articles website page of recent tests of E-15 on marine engines), motorcycles, four wheelers, jet skis, chain saws, all gas powered lawn and garden tools, gas powered home generators and all gasoline powered heavy duty engines like school buses, transit buses and delivery trucks. Use of E-15 in these engines may destroy the engines according to almost all manufacturers and warranties will NOT cover damages.
SO, when you pull up to a gas station and see the above new “E15” label on the pump, the old saying of “BUYER BEWARE” applies………use at your own risk! Use of this fuel in equipment it is not designed for may be very costly and the buyer may not have any recourse for damages that may result!