• Nov 1, 2010

When the EPA approved the use of gasoline with a 15 percent ethanol (E15) for model year 2007 and newer vehicles back in mid-October, a wave of concerns surfaced. Some critics argued that it would be too difficult for drivers to determine which fuel from the many available choices at a typical gas station was actually acceptable for their vehicle. To rectify that situation, the EPA released a warning label (pictured above) that could be applied to E15 pumps.

Additionally, refiners like Valero and Marathon Oil Co., voiced concerns that selling gasoline with higher ethanol content could make them liable if long-term engine damage occurs. It's now becoming painfully obvious that switching from E10 to E15 is no easy task. While the EPA has approved the use of E15 for 2007 and newer vehicles, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) feels that the EPA didn't go as far as the science demonstrated and, at least for now, urges retailers to limit sales of E15 to flex fuel vehicles only. The RFA and the Petroleum Marketers Association of America issued this joint memo to their members:
... it is still unlawful to sell E-15 to anything other than a flexible fuel vehicle, even though EPA has approved E-15 for 2007 and newer vehicles. Until health effects testing is completed, fuel producers have a 211(b) certification from EPA, certain state fuel regulations amended, and EPA's misfueling and labeling proposed regulation finalized, E-15 sales must be confined to and labeled specifically for flexible fuel vehicles only.

We encourage all of you to remain vigilant so that you and others do not unintentionally offer E-15 to customers driving non-flexible fuel vehicles. E-15 will provide consumers and marketers another option to maximize their domestic renewable fuel use. But failing to adhere to the legal steps required to do so may give our fuel products and our industries an unnecessary and avoidable black eye.

Read the full memo after the jump.

[Source: Renewable Fuels Association]

RFA MEMO

PMAA AND THE RENEWABLE FUELS ASSOCIATION ADVISE MEMBERS ON E-15


October 28, 2010

Until Regulations Are Finalized, Retailers Should Limit E-15 to FFVs

(October 28, 2010) Today, PMAA and RFA joined forces to urge their members to limit E-15 sales to Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) until regulations governing the fuel are finalized and implemented. The following is the PMAA/RFA joint memorandum:

To: PMAA and RFA Members:

The Environmental Protection Agency's recent approval of E-15 for a portion of the U.S. light duty vehicle fleet is but the first step in a detailed process required to ensure E-15 can be offered in the market place. As many of you know from previous communications, there are a cadre of regulations, standards, and labeling issues that must be addressed to allow retailers to legally offer E-15 to those non-flexible fuel vehicles the EPA has approved.

Recently, press reports and releases have featured retailers that have installed an E-15 button on their blender pumps. While this demonstrates that the infrastructure to dispense E-15 is growing, it is still unlawful to sell E-15 to anything other than a flexible fuel vehicle, even though EPA has approved E-15 for 2007 and newer vehicles. Until health effects testing is completed, fuel producers have a 211(b) certification from EPA, certain state fuel regulations amended, and EPA's misfueling and labeling proposed regulation finalized, E-15 sales must be confined to and labeled specifically for flexible fuel vehicles only.

We encourage all of you to remain vigilant so that you and others do not unintentionally offer E-15 to customers driving non-flexible fuel vehicles. E-15 will provide consumers and marketers another option to maximize their domestic renewable fuel use. But failing to adhere to the legal steps required to do so may give our fuel products and our industries an unnecessary and avoidable black eye.

If you have any questions about E-15 and legal requirements to sell the fuel, please contact the RFA offices at 202.289.3835, the PMAA offices at 703-351-8000.


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
  • 14 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      ETHANOL IS A SCAM - AND IT IS STUPID

      10% Ethanol was STUPID --- So let's raise it to 15%. = BRILLIANT

      1. Farmers are subsidized ~50 cents per gallon
      2. Refiners are subsidized ~50 cents per gallon.
      How would you like it if we had to pay the actual cost at the pump, instead of adding this to the national debt ????
      3. We have a import tariff to make Brazilian ethanol cost more in the US - - - why?
      3. And has made our food cost more, and has even caused food shortages.
      4. Less energy content in ethanol vs. gas - significantly less ~30%
      5. Several studies (like a Cornell Univ) argue that it takes more fossil fuel to farm, transport, and refine ethanol than the energy content of the final ethanol (A NET ENERGY LOSS or close to it. Takes 8 gallons of diesel andr other fossil fuel equivalent like natural gas to make 10 gallons of ethanol -
      a STUPID STUPID STUPID waste of natural resouces.)
      6. EPA studies show that by using ethanol, VOC and NOx emissions increase. California's ARB wants to stop using it, but the EPA won't let them.
      6a. For every gallon of ethanol burned = pollutants from the petroleum products used to make the ethanol + the pollution when the ethanol is burned. Maybe 1.6 times the pollution of not using ethanol at all. F'ing brilliant.
      7. Uses lots of groundwater, and more fertilizer (also petrochemical based) run-off into wetlands and rivers.

      read Bryce's book GUSHER OF LIES
      chapter 12 entitled THE ETHANOL SCAM
      This one chapter has 222 footnotes. I looked them over. Pretty credible sources including about 1/3rd from our own government agencies.

      The EPA is a sorry a-ssed bureaucracy perpetrating a SCAM on the American taxpayer

      ps. Boaters and people with older cars hate it.. Scream about it. Screws up their engines, fuel tanks, eats gaskets and fuel lines.

      We don't want it. We don't need it. What happened to freedom and common sense in this country? Vote against stupid on Nov. 2.


      gotta go - I hear children starting to whine

        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, ethanol have less energy density than gasoline. So? Diesel have greater energy density than gasoline. Is that an argument to stop using gasoline? What is important is efficiency. An ethanol engine can match the efficiency of diesel engine and be significantly cheaper at the same time. Research shows that ethanol engines should be able to exceed the efficiency of diesels. That ethanol is less energy dense is not a problem at all.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1. Farmers are subsidized ~50 cents per gallon

        Wrong.. Farmers are not paid anything ..


        2. Refiners are subsidized ~50 cents per gallon.

        Wrong.. the VEETC (blenders credits was 51 cents 2 years ago.. 45 cents today and is expected to be phased completely out within 3 years

        3. We have a import tariff to make Brazilian ethanol cost more in the US - - - why?
        What bonehead thinks it's a good idea to lower our dependence on Foreign Oil just to increase our dependence of Foreign Ethanol

        4. And has made our food cost more, and has even caused food shortages.

        Too funny..there is and has never been any food shortages because of ethanol..in Fact we produced the 3 rd largest corn crop EVER this year..and will have tens of millions of bushels of "extra" corn left over after we Feed the World and fuel our vehicles.

        Corn is $5.50 a bushel..56 PONDS of corn for $5.50 (cbot.com) ..9 cents a pound for corn.. Your food prices may be going up but it has nothing to do with the price of corn and everything to do with transportation, storage costs, processing , packaging , utilities, wages and profit margins..


        5. Several studies (like a Cornell Univ) argue that it takes more fossil fuel to farm, transport, and refine ethanol than the energy content of the final ethanol

        That was Pimental a decade ago.. Pimental is a BUG scientist .. The real Numbers are NET POSITIVE 2.3 energy out that is put in..that's just a fact there is no reputable scientist in the world that disputes that

        6. EPA studies show that by using ethanol, VOC and NOx emissions increase. California's ARB wants to stop using it, but the EPA won't let them.

        EPA has cracked down on ethanol plants that exceed VOCs ..all energy production includes emissions ..it is simply a matter of ensuring that Companies install the correct equipment to control those emissions.. no different than with the Oil Companies

        7. Uses lots of groundwater, and more fertilizer (also petrochemical based) run-off into wetlands and rivers.

        The average person uses 4 Gallons of water brushing their teeth..the earth is 71% water





        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree with NRB..

        I believe the latest Poet plants use a gallon of oil to produce about 22 gallons of ethanol.. but they do use coal and NG to dry up the ethanol.. essentially its a method of converting sunlight and the plentiful US made coal/gas to liquid fuels. It does support the farmers and they know how to protect their topsoil.. BTW the dent corn used for this is not irrigated, but fertilizers and other chemicals are used, all of it is GM also and fed to animals.

        Still I would prefer using coal and NG to make alcohols directly, usually a mix of dry ethanol/methanol using low cost catalysts.. that fuel could be as cheap as $0.50 a gallon. Perhaps in a few years when the CO2 hysteria dies down.
        • 4 Years Ago
        > 1. Farmers are subsidized ~50 cents per gallon
        > 2. Refiners are subsidized ~50 cents per gallon.

        Old numbers. Check again.

        > 3. We have a import tariff to make Brazilian ethanol cost more in the US - - - why?

        To reduce our dependence on foreign....

        > 3. And has made our food cost more, and has even caused food shortages.

        Really? Ethanol is extracted from a waste by-product of feed corn. The amount of feed corn currently produced (hence by-product) far exceeds any ethanol requirements.

        Explain how that causes a food shortage.

        > 4. Less energy content in ethanol vs. gas - significantly less ~30%

        Still more energy content than batteries.

        > 5. Several studies (like a Cornell Univ) argue that it takes more fossil fuel to farm, transport, and refine ethanol than the energy content of the final ethanol

        First, those numbers are dated and go back to when ethanol was in it's early stages. Second, see my answer to your second #3. It's incorrect to count the energy used to farm the corn ,when the corn is being produced anyway.

        > 6. EPA studies show that by using ethanol, VOC and NOx emissions increase. California's ARB wants to stop using it, but the EPA won't let them.

        I don't know about that. I do know that ethanol generally burns cleaner than gasoline.

        > 7. Uses lots of groundwater, and more fertilizer (also petrochemical based) run-off into wetlands and rivers.

        Again, the corn is being grown anyway. Let me rephrase, NO CORN IS GROWN FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF CREATING ETHANOL.

        I'm the first to admit that ethanol has it's issues. It's not a good long term solution. It's an excellent interim solution.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So you don't like ethanol?
      • 4 Years Ago
      ".the earth is 71% water"

      I suggest you go to the Ocean and fill up a glass and drink it down. Or better yet, do this will farm run-off.

      At best Corn ethanol is a way to convert coal/natural gas into a liquid fuel in meaningless quantities (while expanding the ocean dead zones, and depleting precious groundwater).

      It is the equivalent of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic after it started going down.

      In a world of tightening energy supplies we need new energy sources, not distracting boondoggles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ethanol production using corn increases food prices:

      http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/18173/

      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/18/business/18food.html

      (search term on google: "ethanol food prices")

      2008 riots in Mexico City because farmers were shipping corn to the U.S., and corn prices in Mexico increased significantly:


      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6319093.stm

      (search term on google: "ethanol food riots")
        • 4 Years Ago
        Those are old news stories. The World Bank reviewed its findings on ethanol and food with a new study this summer. Covered in Autoblog Green: http://green.autoblog.com/2010/08/04/world-bank-report-food-vs-fuel-debate-was-overblown/

        As reported: "Now, with a bit of historical distance, economists working for the World Bank say:
        'the effect of biofuels on food prices has not been as large as originally thought, but that the use of commodities by financial investors (the so-called "financialization of commodities") may have been partly responsible for the 2007/08 spike.'"
      • 4 Years Ago
      They should sell h01 concept in specialies motorcar shops, where some hydrogen, around 1% is injected with 99% gasoline. That mix should provide cleaner emissions and a state subsidies, more power, less ignition engine advance, more efficiency because the gasoline burn at a higher temperature and more completelly. Gasoline efficiency is only 23% but with that mix it goes to 24% efficient plus a rebate of 1% for the hydrogen. Longer spark plug life and cleaner long term engine oil.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Notice how this came out right before the election? Everyone including the EPA knows ethanol is crap, this is nothing more than election year pandering for the farm vote.

      The biggest welfare queens in this country aren't single mothers, they're farmers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nonsense. At least farmers produce something. And so what if they benefit from a pro-ethanol energy policy? That's better than petro-tyrannies and terrorists benefiting from our current non-policy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh crap, i just put E15 in my 01 Corvette. Okay who do I sue? Let's see, Valero has deep pockets. : )
      • 4 Years Ago
      Could it be that the oil lobby is against it because....they want to sell more oil?
    • Load More Comments