The ethanol-gasoline blend E15 was approved by the EPA for vehicles manufactured after 2001, but a new report finds the 15 percent allowance of ethanol into the fuel might be gumming up engines.
The report by the oil and auto industry supported organization Coordinating Research Council ultimately found that some fuel pumps and level senders in car models made between 2001 and 2007 — representing 29 million cars — failed or showed negative effects due to the use of E15.
American Petroleum Institute Group Director of Downstream and Industry Operations Bob Greco said in a press release the effects of the fuel could lead to engine breakdown.
Greco said E15 could lead to fuel gauge and check engine light problems, in addition to more seriously breaking parts that could prevent the flow of fuel into the engine.
The fuel issues did not seem to be present during the CRC tests that used E10 or E0.
“Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways,” Greco said in a statement. “It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.”
Greco continued saying he believes the EPA was wrong to give the “green light” to E15 while tests were still going on.
“EPA’s action was irresponsible,” he said. “Why did EPA move forward prematurely? Part of the answer may be the need to raise the permissible concentration level of ethanol so that greater volumes could be used, as required by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Most gasoline sold today is an E10 blend, but rising volume requirements under the law can’t be met much longer without going to higher blends. When Congress passed the law, it could not know it was creating this problem.”
Greco said API would advocate, with the problem presented in the study regarding the use of E15, that the Renewable Fuel Standard be repealed.
The pro-ethanol group Growth Energy said in a statement the findings of CRC’s study come as no surprise to them.
“Oil companies are desperate to prevent the use of higher blends of renewable fuels,” Growth Energy Chief Executive Tom Buis said. “To see what’s driving them, ‘follow the money,’ as every gallon of renewable fuel that enters the market reduces Big Oil’s market share. Obviously they have deep pockets in which to fund studies that can at best be described as incomplete and cherry picking.”
Bruis continued pointing out that the Department of Energy criticized CRC’s earlier study testing E15 last year, and he said that the DOE had conducted more than 6 million miles of tests using E15.
Featured image via Shutterstock.com.
(H/T: Washington Examiner)