• Dec 1st 2009 at 2:29PM
  • 37
There is some ethanol in almost all of the gasoline sold in the U.S. Usually, this amount is no more than 10 percent of the total and, if it's more than that, it jumps all the way to 85 percent and is sold as E85. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was supposed to come down on one side or the other today of a possible increase across the board to 15 percent that Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers asked for, but instead announced that it needs more time.

The EPA has been looking at the E15 issue all year and investigating all sorts of issues, but there are a lot of moving parts in this sort of decision. Everyone from farmers and their subsidies to grow the corn used to make most of the ethanol sold today to car makers who have tuned their engines to run on E10 but not E15 want to have their say. The EPA has heard the comments, and now says that it needs more time to test E15 in vehicles. Right now, it thinks that any vehicle built after 2001 will burn E15 just fine, but there are a lot of older vehicles still on the road. Cash For Clunkers didn't get all of them off the road, after all. A decision is now expected in mid-June 2010.

The postponement was met with approval by the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures, which said they want more government testing "to prove that increasing the allowable ethanol blend limit will not harm vehicle emissions, performance, and durability." Read their full statement after the jump.

[Source: Reuters, Auto Allliance | Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images]

Automaker Statement on EPA E-15 Waiver Decision:

Washington, DC – The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers today praised the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) postponement of a decision on an ethanol producer waiver application seeking to increase the amount of ethanol permitted to be blended in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. Automakers want government testing to prove that increasing the allowable ethanol blend limit will not harm vehicle emissions, performance, and durability.

Alliance President and CEO Dave McCurdy stated, "We are pleased that EPA recognizes the importance of making decisions based on sound science. Any decisions on blends higher than E-10 for the existing fleet should be postponed until adequate testing results are available."

McCurdy added, "Currently there are more than 7 million vehicles on the road capable of operating on fuels blended with up to 85 percent ethanol. And while we share concerns regarding energy security, the Environmental Protection Agency needs to be certain that prolonged use of mid level blends will not damage existing engines, fuel lines and emissions systems. Widespread failures resulting from higher blends of ethanol would be costly to automakers, a setback for the biofuels industry and most of all a disaster for the driving public."

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a trade association of 11 car and light truck manufacturers including BMW Group, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota and Volkswagen. For more information, visit the Alliance website at www.autoalliance.org

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      High ethanol content has been blamed for the high rate of failure on high pressure fuel pumps on BMWs (mine has already been in for a new one). They've gone so far as to reject warranty claims on cars where the gas is found to contain > 10% ethanol.

      Ethanol is a horrible idea resulting in the early death of engine components.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @King - I just want to know if it's also happening in the 135s and 535s with the same HPFP (I assume). If it's just happening in the E9x then it sounds fishy (on BMW's part).

        If it was an ethanol E10 issue wouldn't it be happening to ALL HPFP-equipped BMWs?
        • 5 Years Ago

        While I was in getting my HPFP replaced, the SA suggested that is the current theory from BMW. She handed me a pamphlet BMWNA had made about 'top tier' fuels, discussed the ethanol issue, and even suggested I pickup some BMW fuel system cleaner (chevron techron, I hear).

        I don't know what the truth is, but you have to wonder -- why has it been years, and this issue still plagues BMW? New HPFPs are still failing, and yet there is no solution.

        If BMW cannot re-engineer the HPFP because of requirements with the engine, maybe the gas running through it is to blame?

        Regardless, there is no shortage of mechanics out there (even for other types of engines, e.g. outboard boat engines) that will cry about Ethanol's corrosive tendencies on components.
        • 5 Years Ago

        The problem is affecting the 535i users as well. I havent spent much time looking at 135s, but I imagine they are too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Is that the cause of the HPFP failures? I thought they still didnt know. Are they failing on the 135s and 535s too?
      • 5 Years Ago
      NO! Ethanol was one of the stupidest energy ideas in a while, and that still hasn't changed. It needs all new infrastructure, cannot be directly replaced for gasoline, and offers less energy per unit. Why do we have this useless additive/fuel? Ridiculous.

      E10 is bad enough. If you want to do E15, fine, but ax the gas tax. Not willing to do that? Tough - then leave us the hell alone, EPA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Just" a few hundred per car? That would be an enormous amount given all the cars on the road.

        So the question comes about of why can't we just use something that can use the pre-ethanol infrastructure, such as butanol. It also has superior BTU properties, and is less evaporative than ethanol.

        The only issue right now with butanol is the production technology for mass production isn't there quite yet. But if we're going to throw money at something, why not something that MAKES SENSE like butanol?

        Ethanol is a joke. No sense in trying to defend it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The beauty about ethanol is that there's establish handling and distrobution procedures and the number of people that can handle it aren't restricted to a small oligopoly. There are other uses for the product as well. In other words, just about anybody can jump in and eventually become an ethanol producer relative to the world of oil where we have 5 major companies left. They can barely get a new refinery approved. How does a newcomer ever hope to enter?

        There's nothing inherently wrong with ethanol as a fuel option except the cost of the current source, corn. The source may change or the cost of gas may change to make that moot. Then its only a problem for the gas industry. Which is as it should be. The consumer should have options.

        Forcing it as an additive is a seperate issue and I can see where mandating is unfair to current vehicle owners.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It can be replaced for gasoline for a few hundred dollars per car or less. Much cheaper than deisel or a battery pack.

        Energy per unit is meaningless when fuel prices are high. As a consumer I care about Miles/$ during high fuel price times.

        Corn Ethanol does lose that battle, until gas goes to $5-$6 a gallon. And a year ago we were as close or closer to those prices than today's price.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let the Feds mandate E15. I guarantee you that every redneck in the country will start taking shots at them when their engines blow because of that crap.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Ethanol is not a zero-sum game. It's a huge rip-off at the expense of taxpayers, all because the corn lobbies have their hands in quite a lot of congresspeople's pants. I hope we see less ethanol -- it's a waste of money and categorically worse for the environment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Of course, people talk about healthcare coverage while completely ignoring how HFCS is being shoved down our throats in pretty much everything we eat, including meat and eggs because animals also get fed corn (goes against nature's design). People are sick, overweight because of the very ingredients that government helps to subsidize.

        Now of course they want to push ethanol and why not it makes big farming corporations (small guys have been wiped out) rich because they can sell more corn at below production costs all the while still making a profit. Who pays? Once again the taxpayer. See nothing is for free...EVER!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, maybe that's pretty good for the environment, but more people are in hunger. (Shouldn't we waste our food?-.-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please don't do it. It reduces the energy content of our gasoline another 2%. Unless the prices drop proportionally (and they won't), we'll be getting ripped off.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Thank goodness for Climategate.
        It won't happen.
        • 5 Years Ago
        thank you. let's stop beating this dead horse already.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would support this, with one condition: all stations must have at least one pump that carries E0. Boats, mowers, 2strokes (they are still legal in most states), classic cars, etc all do better with E0.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i don't see how that's possible.

        than people would continue to drive their regular tanks, while the gov wants people to be responsible for the mess we make by our choices.
        like driving big cars, because it could harm our self esteem showing up in a small car.

        i think people should drive in small cars for short distances and rent a car for long distances, like vacation, hauling.

      • 5 Years Ago
      99% of American gets jack squat, the people that benefit are corn farmers who rely upon corn subsidies to make money. It'd be political suicide for a politician in say Iowa to be against corn subsidies--consequently crap like this gets pushed into legislature all the time.

      Forget E15, let's make it E0. Biggest freaking waste of taxpayer dollars. I wish they'd kill most of the subsidies altogether, but that ain't happening. Corn ethanol isn't fuel efficient, is costly and yields less energy than biodiesel or sugar-based ethanol. Basically politics is the only thing that's propping it up.
      • 5 Years Ago
      People need to look at the big picture. According to North Dakota State University, a movement to E 15 would create 136,000 new jobs. E 15 would replace 900,000 barrels of oil per day. The use of E 15 would remove emissions equivilent to more than 4 million vehicles from the road each year. As EPA itself indicated, the scientific data to date has demonstrated no ill-effects of increased ethanol use in any vehicle currently on the road.The increase in ethanol in conventional fuel will help create a market for future generation biofuels.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are joking right? Every one of those so called facts have more in common with the tooth fairy and the easter bunny than any real scientific research.

        If I base my statistics on data like the government dropping a $100 bill on the ground will create 10 new jobs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The subsidies should stop.
      • 5 Years Ago
      SO can I get the government to pay for a new car when all the fuel delivery components of my car fail because of E15?

      I already want them to pay for a new lawnmower since my 15 year old Cub Cadet bought the farm because of corrosive E10. I have to clean the plug on my Honda push mower after every use.

      My father in law would like a new boat since his fuel system went kaput and he had to spend $1800 on repairs only to have the same thing happen next season thanks to E10 marine fuel.

      My car would probably get 36-38 mpg instead of 30-32 if I could find gas without additives. Kind of funny that the government wants increased mileage but is doing everything in its power to make it harder to obtain those numbers. I can only imagine what would happen if I removed some of the other restrictive parts from the exhaust.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The first comments have pretty much summed it up.

      Ethanol fuel from corn is a waste of resources and does nothing but make money for the corn lobby. It is in no way better for the environment and certainly not any good from a performance standpoint. It's basically government mandated highway robbery.

      Note: The above statements are from somebody that votes (D).
        • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        I vote (D) and I hate corn gas. i pay extra to go to the one ethanol free station around. Same with all my (D) friends. So don't make assumptions.

        Corn makes horrible fuel. everyone knows it hurts mileage.

        write your congressman, (not the internet), tell him you don't want ethanol.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X