• Nov 23, 2010
When the EPA approved the use of gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol content (E15) for model year 2007 and newer vehicles in mid-October, critics immediately chimed in with a wave of concerns. Some argued that drivers would have a difficult time discerning which fuel to pump into their vehicles, while other were concerned that insufficient testing had been conducted by the EPA and urged retailers to limit the sale of E15 to flex fuel vehicles only. For nearly two years, the E15 battle has waged on, with supporters convinced that increased ethanol content would be suitable for all autos and opponents demanding more tests.

The E15 battle is far from over. The EPA's next move is determining whether or not the gasoline-ethanol blended fuel is acceptable for 2001 to 2006 model-year vehicles. The EPA's decision was initially expected to come in December, but due to some mechanical failures in test vehicles unrelated to the fueling system, the Energy Department will require more time to analyze E15 use in older vehicles and the EPA will be forced to push back its decision until January.

[Source: Reuters]


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
  • 42 Comments
        • 4 Years Ago
        On one hand, I wanna punch Al Gore in the face for backing this. But on the other hand, at least he admitted it was a bad idea. I mean, that's hardly a sufficient amount of restitution, but it IS restitution nonetheless. Don't get me wrong, I'm still not a fan of Gore. I guess I'm just trying to find the positives in this crappy situation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My mpg goes down again and groceries go up. So much to look forward to.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I suggest that all of the commenter's take heed and employ the strongest Internet protection on this issue (only use a borrowed email address and wear a disguise at a Nigerian Internet cafe). Archer Daniels Midland (ADM owns more Congressmen than either party) has received billions of dollars from the manufacture and distribution of ethanol. Many of these billions are from Federal subsidies. ADM has shown that it will barbecue any elected official that gets in their way. With only a raised eyebrow ADM can have you, your family and all of your Facebook friends vanish without a trace.

      Comment at your ultimate peril.

      The use of US grown ethanol has been proven to make no or even negative contribution to greenhouse gases. Many prior supporters (Sierra Club, for one) have now taken positions against it so don't think that with all its faults it still is "doing something". It doesn't; the US approach to using ethanol actually increases greenhouse gas emission as the production of ethanol for fuel requires more greenhouse gases than the burning of gasoline itself. It is a completely different situation in Brazil. There they can cut down the rain forest and efficiently grow sugar cane to produce ethanol. For them it makes sense to go 100% ethanol and their approach does reduce greenhouse emissions.

      There is that bit about the rain forest though...
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not a troll; a troll makes provocative and even offensive statements he doesn't believe in just to rile people up. I believe what I say.

        I'm not a shill; nobody is paying me. Note that I didn't question your motives or integrity. I could have called you a Saudi shill, etc. I understand that people can be mistaken and disagree with me without assuming they're mercenaries working for the enemy, however useful to the enemy they may be.

        Call me a fanboy if you want. I consider myself an informal activist. Read the book "Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil".

        1) I didn't deny that ADM seeks to influence the political process. My point was that your portrayal of an all-powerful, IP address-tracking, ninja-sending, family-eliminating colossus is colossally silly. I also put ADM's influence into proper perspective next to the oil cartel.

        2) Your qualifier (the inclusion of which reflects a praiseworthy intellectual honesty) destroys the relevance your point.

        3) I didn't say sugarcane doesn't grow in Brazil. I said sugarcane doesn't grow in the AMAZON. Like many ignorant people, you assume the Amazon is all Brazil is. Instead, however, sugarcane is grown hundreds of miles away from the Amazon, in Brazil's grasslands, the rough equivalent of our Great Plains area.

        4) In the absence of a challenge to the figures I provide, you resort to an affected dismissive attitude. But facts remain facts in utter indifference to your emotional status.

        As we've seen from your posts, volume is in inverse correlation with knowledge. Next time try yelling less and knowing more.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You know what is worse than trolls? Stupid trolls. ADM could certainly afford to buy the best but all we got was Carney. It took all of 2 minutes of Googling to find the following; those with more time could do far better.

        I don't typically respond comments but some folk may read some of the comments and at the worst believe in them or assume the truth is "somewhere in the middle". Not in this case.

        1. Sure ADM hasn't given millions of dollars to any one candidate, they don't have too. Time and time again we find out that our legislators can be bought for embarrassingly small amounts. To quote the Washington Post: "ADM has methodically, over the years, used big money to ingratiate themselves and protect the ethanol subsidy," said Common Cause president Ann McBride. UML below.

        2. According to the current issue of "Ethanol Produce Magazine" ADM's capacity is 1790 MMgy and POET's is 1625MMgy. What they produce is not necessarily their capacity it's a good guide on their relative size. UML below

        3. Sugar cane doesn't grow in Brazil? I didn't realize there was such a thing as sugar cane deniers. I guess the sugar cane fields I saw in Brazil was some type of Potemkin village. From SciDev Net; "Brazil's ethanol industry started in the 1930s. With more sugar than it could use, the government directed sugarcane into ethanol production and made the addition of ethanol to gasoline compulsory". UML below.

        4. The argument is delusional and without a tin foil hat I won't be able to sort it out so I'll leave it be.

        I have no more to speak on this issue. Let's hope we can say the same about Carney but I expect disappointment.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/campaigns/keyraces98/stories/keycash061198.htm

        http://www.ethanolproducer.com/plant-list.jsp?view=production&sort=capacity&sortdir=asc&country=USA

        http://www.scidev.net/en/features/sugarcane-ethanol-brazils-biofuel-success.html


        • 4 Years Ago
        Meanwhile let's look at the oil cartel. Saudi princes are buying up blocks of stock in Time Warner (parent of CNN) and News Corp (parent of Fox News). Endowing elite university chairs in Mideastern studies.

        Giving just-departed decision-makers sinecures for staggering sums (James Baker, Spencer Abraham, Mack McLarty, etc etc.) The week after Colin Powell stepped down as SecState, the Saudi ambassador shows up at his door jangling the keys to a new Jaguar, which Powell accepted (totally legally). The ambassador bragged to the Washington Post that when word gets out that the Saudis take care of their friends once they leave office, it's amazing how many friends still in office they have.

        All of a sudden it's not a surprise that Abraham, as Energy Secretary, diverted the huge post 9/11 momentum to get off oil into the dead-end ditch of hydrogen.

        That McLarty (as Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton) refused to let Jim Woolsey, head of the CIA, meet with the president! For years! Because McLarty knew Woolsey was alarmed about Saudi support for terror.

        That Baker, who regularly comes out with Mideast peace plans that toe the Saudi line, is rolling in it to the tune of hundreds of millions.

        Our political class and media and think tanks, and universities are being corrupted by unlimited enemy wealth.

        So yeah, let's worry about some freakin' corn farmers and ethanol.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1) ADM is approximately as much a feared colossus as you are well-informed. In the real world, it's only the 85th biggest political donor is the US. Over 16 years, it gave its biggest recipient, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) $57,350, averaging $3,584 a year.

        2) ADM is not even the biggest ethanol producer, instead that is POET, a farmer-owned cooperative.

        3) Sugarcane doesn't grow in the Amazon. Brazil has been so frustrated by this myth's prevalence that it even passed a law banning sugarcane there, akin to Russia banning banana plantations in Siberia.

        4) The total federal intervention on ethanol's behalf (including tax breaks) is less than $10 billion. Meanwhile in 2008, we spent $300 billion directly on OPEC oil, more than the combined cost of our war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. We spent more money on the enemy than ourselves, and meanwhile people are yapping in outrage about ethanol?

        As Reagan said, it's not what they know, it's what they know that isn't so.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This whole this disgusts me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      carney stfu
        • 4 Years Ago
        Got an actual argument rather than mere abuse? Didn't think so.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Got an actual argument rather than mere abuse? Didn't think so.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Look at the "Government" "warning" label if you want a full dose of obfuscation. The government is requiring it to be put on sale, and then says it is against the law to use in 2007 and earlier cars.
      This BS is meant to answer the question, "Can I sue if my car is damaged?"
      The G answer is "NO!," and if you do and it was an earlier than 2007 car, "We will put you in jail!"
        • 4 Years Ago
        The government is NOT requiring E15. In fact it used to forbid anything more than E10 for non flex fuel vehicles. The ethanol lobby asked EPA to reconsider and allow E15. EPA has partially relented, but with this scary warning label etc. it's doubtful most gas stations will bother, at least for several more years, until pre 2007 cars become more rare.

        Again, EPA is only ALLOWING, not requiring, E15, and even that permission is conditional.

        Why are ignorant people so loud and aggressive with their ignorance?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Remember that the EPA brought and forced on us that wonder product MTBE. Check out the ground water in the areas where it leaked. Still unusable.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ethanol is far safer than MTBE, which is why it's being now used instead. If spilled, it dissolves to trace amounts in the hydrosphere (any bartender can tell you ethanol dissolves in water). To the limited extent it is even harmful, it is broken down into harmless components by naturally occurring bacteria.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So what next? Drill baby drill?
      • 4 Years Ago
      @Carney - can it. Leave the political diatribe for Politico.com or some other site. You really are making my stomach turn with your ranting. Go somewhere else where it will be heard. Not everyone has a limitless bank account to just go out and buy a new vehicle on a whim simply because of regulations that make someone else feel good.

      As for the E15, I really think it will ultimately just be a mistake. It really seems to me like a push by not just the EPA, but possibly parts of the automobile industry on whole. If E15 becomes mandated and it becomes very difficult to find non-ethanol blended fuel, then my 2000 Saturn and my 2000 Kawasaki *both* become obsolete and unusable, mandating the purchase of a new automobile. This in and of itself is not bad, but I'm not made of money and I just bought a new car to replace my 11-year-old Dakota.

      I'm not a happy camper at all.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We can't be held back forever by old tech.

        We transitioned from leaded to unleaded gasoline too, remember? Or do you think we should have held on to leaded forever, for fear of offending drivers of leaded gas?
      • 4 Years Ago

      Carney, I'm not for a second buying your statement that you don't have a horse in this race. I do agree with you that we should not send the money to wrong hands. However, I do not support ethanol use as it is. It is stupid. Refresh my memory, please ... if we used ALL arable land in US to plant only corn and use it ONLY for ethanol production, what percentage of current gasoline use can we replace? I read that once and forgot the number, but it is FAR off 100%.

      Now, instead of burying your had into midwestern cornfield you should look elsewhere and see what other people did to reduce oil consumption.

      1. Diesel. Why don't you shrill at our politicians to set different federalization rules so we get reasonable choices of diesel engines in this country?

      2. Natural gas and methane. If I remember correctly, US reserves of natural gas are HUGE, enormous. See, somewhere else in the world (out of your sandbox in midwestern cornfield) people can get cars that run on FLEX fuel, meaning either gas/methane or gasoline. Have 1992 Fiat running on gasoline only? No problem, go to Tony's garage and convert it to run on both fuels in a day. Have 2010 Fiat running on gasoline only? No problem, go to Tony's garage and install same system to run on both fuels.

      You still sure you don't have a horse in this race? I call BS.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mark K., I do NOT have a vested interest in this issue, other than wanting our environment, economy and national security freed from the damage caused all three by petroleum. Believe what you like, that's the truth.

        I used to swallow the conventional wisdom (negative) on ethanol hook, line, and sinker - then I read the book "Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil" by Dr. Robert Zubrin (whom I was already a fan of on space issues). That led to "Turning Oil Into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice" by Gal Luft and Anne Korin, and "The Methanol Economy" by Dr. George Orlah.

        We haven't remotely tapped our full agricultural potential. We pay farmers NOT to farm; young people are streaming out of rural areas looking for work, less than half our arable land is farmland, and less than half of that farmland is cultivated. Per-acre crop yields rise relentlessly, up 17% since 2003 alone. Iowa alone now makes more corn than the entire USA did in the 1940s. Etc etc etc

        But you're right that we can't replace gasoline with US corn ethanol alone. That's a good thing. That means we can give our farmers all the business they can handle, and have a lot more demand left over to give poor tropical farmers a piece of the action. It would be nice to let, say, desperately poor Haitian sugarcane farmers get a little taste of the wealth we're showering on our Mideastern enemies. In fact ethanol can be made in worthwhile quantities from over 17 plants grown worldwide.

        You're also quite right about natural gas / methane. While our enemies do make some money from NG, they don't control that market as they do petroleum. It would be great to tap that as vehicle fuel. But first, methane needs to be made into methanol (a cheap easy process). This is because unlike methane methanol is a liquid at normal temperature and pressure. And in a FULLY flex-fueled vehicle (one that can use gasoline, ethanol, methanol, or any other alcohol fuel) methanol can share the same fuel tank as gasoline, in any mix or none at all. Whereas methane requires compression (compressed natural gas, or CNG) into heavy canisters in simple bulky shapes (spheres or domed cylinders) that take up space in your trunk and reduce performance and increase wear & tear with their weight.

        Methanol can also be made from coal and ANY biomass at all (not just the starchy and sugary portions like ethanol). Bio methanol is more practical and ready than cellulosic ethanol (which always seems to be just around the corner). Bio methanol can be made from crop residues (like the leaves, stems, cobs, etc. from corn, multiplying the per acre alcohol fuel yield of an ethanol farm), fast regrowing weeds than need to be cleared anyway (like kudzu and water hyacinths), and even trash and sewage.

        Even better than that, methanol can be reacted to itself to make dimethyl ether, a diesel fuel perfect for ships, trains, and big-rig trucks. DME can in turn be made into polyethylene and polypropylene, the two most important plastics, freeing us further from petroleum dependence.

        Ethanol and methanol advocates sometimes snipe at each other, but they should get along - those two fuels are the one two punch that can help us break free of oil.
        • 4 Years Ago
        On the issue of diesel, I could not be more indifferent. It's just another petroleum-derived fuel, and petroleum is the problem.

        Improved mileage is irrelevant. If we all got higher MPG vehicles, and used less fuel as a result (a dubious proposition given past history with higher MPG), OPEC could just respond by cutting production to match, increasing the per-unit price, so we'd pay just as much for less fuel then as we do for more fuel now. And our enemies get just as much money to plot attacks on us.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As a wise man once said: "Get that corn outta my face!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ethanol really sucks for cars that don't flex crap, it damages rubber seals and it makes the car get less mpgs. But I think that Sunoco has less ethanol due that their gas messured more emissions on a test that was conducted not too long ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Even non flex fuel cars can handle E10 just fine. And most likely E15 as well, the fear mongering being whipped up over it is way overblown.

        But you're right, this shouldn't even be an issue, since flex fuel costs only $130 per car for automakers to add. It should be a standard feature like seat belts, so we don't have to think or worry about it. And we'd be able to fill up on pure ethanol or methanol, or at least E85 or M85, and hit the bad guys where it hurts - in the wallet.
    • Load More Comments