• Jan 21st 2011 at 5:58PM
  • 52
The E15 struggle continues with an announcement by the EPA today that E15 (a fuel made up of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) is safe to use in Model Year 2001-2006 vehicles. Last October, the Agency said that 2007 or newer vehicles could safely use the biofuel, and that kicked off a lot of discussion on the safety of the biofuel and a series of lawsuits. Read more on that here.

The ethanol industry and the EPA have also been fighting over a new warning label that would appear on E15 pumps. The EPA's noticeable orange sticker is seen above right, while the less aggressive proposal from the ethanol industry is on the left side. Now that E15 has been given the go-ahead, we're sure someone will have some sort of response soon. Oh, wait, there already is one. The AP quotes Craig Cox of the Environmental Working Group as saying, "It seems like corn growers and the ethanol industry are the only real winners here."

[Source: AP]

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
      • 4 Years Ago
      see what average Americans think of this craap:

      thousands of comments
        • 4 Years Ago
        Half of all people are below average. And a Yahoo! forum isn't necessarily the place to find above-average types.

        When it comes to ethanol, oil cartel lies have been carefully spread among left and right, using arguments designed to appeal best to each side. Unsurprisingly, anti-ethanol myths have taken deep root. Nearly everything people think they know about ethanol is wrong. On ethanol, to echo Reagan, it's not what folks don't know, it's what they "know" that isn't so.

        And thanks to confirmation bias, people tend to believe the first thing they hear and reject later information. Or they believe what confirms their already-ingrained prejudices, and reject what runs against that grain. People also tend to become MORE stubborn, more fervent in their beliefs when exposed to a decisive and thorough fact-based refutation of their belief.

        After, all we've seen that with you, many times, Gene.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd rather go by my car manual that says I can't put anything higher than 10% in my 2001 Outback. If anyone knows how my car works, it's the company that built it. And if they say no, they really mean NO.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, they mean "the lawyers insisted we cover our rear ends since we live in a society where juries with zero common sense and zero legal or scientific understanding award eleventy-zillion dollar verdicts for every sob story."
      • 4 Years Ago
      Our fuel should already have been a minimum of E15 for a long time now. Brazil has been running a minimum of E25 for decades now which is a big reason why they are energy independent!
      Ethanol is a superb fuel - burns extremely clean, burns a lot cooler, is renewable and can be made from many feedstocks. Corn is not bad as a feedstock (400 gallons per acre and the left over distiller grain is an excellent animal feed - which is what corn is primarily grown for in the first place). Ethanol from sugar beets, sorghum, hemp, cellulosic sources & even municipal wastes are also good feedstocks.

      Ethanol content in gasoline should be at least E15...E25 should be what we get to in the very near future.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Cars in Brazil have special hardware to allow them to operate on E25, and somewhere in the supply chain, water gets put in the fuel "because they can." The alcohol allows the water to be absorber or dispersed, but they customer is paying by volume, so the more water, the more profits for the supplier.

        Oh, and how many people in the US count sugar cane as a major constituent of their diet?
        Corn is possibly the WORST crop currently in use to produce ethanol.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Our corn industry is large-scale, highly efficient, with already-existing machinery, experienced personnel, infrastructure, etc. Our climate, soil, etc. are also well-suited for corn.

        Corn ethanol is not the sole answer, nor the ideal source, but it's hardly the worst anything. It gets a very worthwhile yield per acre. It gets a bum rap from both right and left because it is the single most important, widely used, widely compatible alternative fuel in use in the world today, and is thus the greatest threat to the oil cartel's super-profits. In 2008, according to Merrill Lynch, ethanol prevented oil from rising 15% even higher, saving the US $80 billion and depriving OPEC of $180 billion. (No wonder they're mad, and use their high-priced PR firms to spread anti-corn FUD.)

        Imagine what alcohol fuel, including corn ethanol, could do if we really unleashed it by making full compatibility with all alcohol fuel a required standard feature in all new cars from now on, like seat belts. It would cost automakers only $130 per new car at the factory.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Corn is not bad as a feedstock"

        When a field of dandelions performs as well, and a field of switchgrass (requiring no irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides, nor herbicides) performs three times betters, I'm quite comfortable saying that yeah, corn is a bad feedstock. When you factor in the water, fertilizer, pesticides and oil stocks needed to produce the fertilizer and pesticides, corn quickly becomes just about the worst biomass feedstock you could pick.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We have blender pumps in South Dakota. I've been pumping e-30 into my Toyota 1997 RAV4 for 4 years. I just had my timing belt and several gaskets replaced. My mechanic remarked how clean the valves were as well as the fact the engine seemed in great shape for having 168k on it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm anti-ethanol for a few reasons.

      1) Ethanol production is a waste of good farmland for food
      2) I WANT gasoline to go sky high. Only then will the lazy American populace turn to REAL alternatives instead of stop-gap solutions like ethanol
      3) It's still harmful to burn, just not as harmful.

      I don't care about the so-called oil independence argument in the least. Ethanol is not a long term solution for our energy needs. Simple as that. So much arguing on this post about oil this and middle east that... All of it is pointless in the long term.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1) Only half our arable land is farmland, and less than half our farmland is even cultivated. Young adults stream out of rural areas looking for work. Despite all that, our ag sector produces such an overwhelming cornucopia that the government has to pay farmers NOT to farm to prevent even more over-production that would collapse prices below the point that would bankrupt what few family farmers are left. There's no world food shortage; the US and EU buy up and warehouse surplus produce, and dump it on domestic and global food aid programs. Hunger is not caused by any food shortages, but instead mostly by the over-abundance of food being kept out by violent conflict, natural disasters, or brutal repression. Extreme poverty causes the rest, and bankrupting our ag sectors is not the solution; rather, ethanol can help SOLVE hunger by giving underdeveloped, inefficient subsistence farmers a cash crop they can use to earn hard currency an enter modernity.

        2) High gas prices impose pointless pain if drivers have no ability to choose alternatives. If flex fuel were a standard feature like seat belts, then drivers could just then fill up on methanol or ethanol instead. If the oil cartel overproduces to undercut alcohol fuel's price, tarriff or tax it THEN, when drivers have a choice.

        3) Everything has an environmental impact, even naked Stone Age Amazon tribesmen. What matters is what's an improvement.

        4) Why on Earth DON'T you care about just whom is being enriched by the status quo and what they're doing with the money? Our economy has crashed three times already (1973, 1979, 2008) due to oil, wiping out trillions in wealth and millions of jobs. That affects real people. Furthermore oil wealth funds and spreads extremism, radicalizing and galvanizing once-sleepy communities into pro-terrorist craziness and actual terrorism as well.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Neither of my vehicles are new enough to qualify. They've been getting E10 for most of their lives and E15 more recently. I'm not worried in the least.

      The paranoia is greatly exaggerated.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Carney, thanks for the enlightened view on using domestic, renewable alcohol as a transitional fuel to full electrification. Facts speak for themselves.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks in turn for the positive note. It helps.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "People also tend to become MORE stubborn, more fervent in their beliefs when exposed to a decisive and thorough fact-based refutation of their belief."

      Are you describing yourself Carney ?
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, you, as I clearly stated.

        I have refuted every anti ethanol myth you parrot, including food vs, fuel, negative return on energy investment, and more. I use numbers andfacts from published studies. I explain why the handful of studies the oil cartel hypes are flawed, and livethat their authors are isolated and refuted.

        Yet you just keep going pretending you hadn't had your nose rubbed vigorously in the facts that PROVE you wrong.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We once were the world's food basket, now I see many imported food in the store, and ....well, I do not like that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This shows every indication of becoming a big fiasco with very little impact. Few gas station owners are going to bother, there is little advantage over E10, and the E85 market is probably larger in areas where ethanol is readily available. Then add in the potential lawsuits from older car owners...
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's misleading to call E15 "biofuel" because it's mostly (85%) gasoline with just a little (15%) ethanol mixed in.

      Use of E15 could potentially offset automobile fossil fuel consumption by only 15%. That's not enough to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and it doesn't seem to me to be enough of a benefit to offset the impact ethanol production will have on agriculture.
        • 4 Years Ago
        letstakeawalk, the paper you posted cites Pimentel and Patzek. Those two are notorious, radioactive, discredited. Anyone who cites them ruins his own work and discredits himself.

        As for claiming that E85 causes an INCREASE in particulate matter emissions, that's literally physically impossible. Crackpottery. Ethanol emits NO particulate matter or smoke or soot. Firemen have had to be retrained in dealing with vehicle crashes as a result because they assume no smoke no fire. Not the case in cars with E85 in the tank.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's more of a biofuel than E10, or E0.

        And according to a Merrill Lynch report published in the Wall Street Journal, ethanol prevented oil from being even higher, to the tune of 15%, during the brutal year of 2008, meaning a savings of $90 billion to the US, and depriving OPEC of $180 billion worldwide.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If the analogy is bad, it's only because light cigarettes are presented as less cancerous than regulars (doubtful, for sure).

        Burning ethanol is just as cancerous as burning gasoline.

        "In sum, due to its similar cancer risk but enhanced ozone health risk in the base
        emission case, a future fleet of E85 may cause a greater health risk than gasoline.
        However, because of the uncertainty in future emission regulations, E85 can only be
        concluded with confidence to cause at least as much damage as future gasoline vehicles.

        Because both gasoline and E85 emission controls are likely to improve, it is unclear
        whether one could provide significantly more emission reduction than the other. In the
        case of E85, unburned ethanol emissions may provide a regional and global source of
        acetaldehyde larger than that of direct emissions."


        "The implication that the use of ethanol (E6 or E10 in this case) has improved
        air quality is false. Air quality was improving before E6 or E10 was used in vehicles as
        well as after, and this has occurred because the 1970 Clean Air Act Amendment required 90% reductions in hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides and nitrogen. Such improvements have occurred primarily due to the invention of the catalytic converter, developed as a response to the regulation, and to the year by year removal of older, more polluting cars from the road."

        "Claim: Ethanol reduces carbon monoxide and particulate matter emissions.

        Response: This statement is false. Table 2 of J07 shows that of 8 measurement studies, half reported an increase and half reported a decrease of carbon monoxide due to E85.

        The one particulate matter study showed an increase due to E85."

        • 4 Years Ago
        light cigarettes are less cancerous.... so keep smoking!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bad analogy, 2 Wheel.

        Ethanol produces no smoke at all. The more you use it the less "smoking" you do.
      • 4 Years Ago

      Here's a place you can cut spending, the stupid Ethanol subsidies.
        • 4 Years Ago
        CBO concludes whatever it's in effect told to conclude by the (usually extremely questionable) assumptions it's ordered to work on the basis of. Gaming CBO is the oldest Washington trick around; everyone does it on every side of every issue.

        In any event, even the paper you cite, at most, claims that ethanol constituted less than a fifth and as little as a tenth of the rise in food prices. Is that remotely worth the sturm und drang, especially when the cost of petroleum is well known as an even bigger influence?

        You are also deliberately misleading with the second quote you supply. It is not, as you imply, a Reuters analysis (ooh, impartial respected Reuters!), but simply Reuters QUOTING GORE's OPINION.

        Again, the portion of the US corn crop going to ethanol being 40% sounds alarming, until you realize that that increase has NOT caused a reduction in the production of good corn. Food corn production went up 45% in the last 10 years, even while ethanol corn production went up. It is thus mathematically IMPOSSIBLE for the ethanol program to have caused an increase in food prices by making corn more scarce.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank you for your retraction.

        In no way did I represent Al Gore's quote as the product of Rueters research. I merely supplied a link from Reuters that was the source of the quote.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Expensive food and welfare for corporate farms is better than importing more oil, yeah?"

        Yes, since oil trashes our environment, crashes our economy, and funds terrorism. But fortunately we don't sctually have to have expensive food.

        Ethanol doesn't cause higher food prices. Even while ethanol corn production went up severalfold in the last decade, food corn production went up 45%, not down. That's because per acre yields and efficiency are always rising, and because there's huge untapped agricultural production capacity - less than half our farmland us even cultivated.

        A major driver in increased food prices has been petroleum, which went up drastically between 2005 and today. Ethanol helped limit the damage but it's held back because cars can't use it. We should just make 100% ethanol compatibity a standard feature in new cars from now on - it would cost automakers only $100 per car at the factory, and another $30 to add in support for methanol and other alcohols.

        More of the price of a box of corn flakes comes from energy than the actual corn.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Brilliant idea. Total intervention on ethanol's behalf, if you include tax breaks as "spending", amounts to less than $10 billion a year.

        Meanwhile in 2008 we spent hundreds of billions more for oil than we spent in 1999, thanks to OPEC's deliberate price-hike. And we had to spend scores of billions fighting crazies in two countries who wore radicalized and recruited by oil propaganda, and trained and armed by oil funded groups.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Ethanol doesn't cause higher food prices."

        The Congressional Budget office say ethanol does increase the cost of food.

        "CBO estimates that from April 2007 to April 2008, the rise in the price of corn resulting from expanded production of ethanol contributed between 0.5 and 0.8 percentage points of the 5.1 percent increase in food prices measured by the consumer price index (CPI)."

        I agree that increased fuel costs also caused an increase in food prices, but that in no way negates the effect of corn ethanol on market prices for feed corn for meat production.

        "Federal mandates now in place require additional use of ethanol in the future, which would continue to put upward pressure on prices."


        Oh, and if you need it said more simply, Vice President Al Gore is very succinct:

        "The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices.

        "The competition with food prices is real."

        • 4 Years Ago
        letstakeawalk, I apologize and retract my accusation in my second point above. I missed that your sentence about Gore before the two quotes ended in a colon instead of a period. By ending it in a colon you were making clear that the quotes were indeed from Gore. By thinking the sentence ended in a period, I thought you were making an independent point, then moving on to quotes that you then implied were coming from Reuters as such. Sorry for not assuming good faith from you.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, so let's continue to double subsidize corn, even though corn ( as food ) prices have shot out the roof since 2005 when e10 was first mandated.

        Expensive food and welfare for corporate farms is better than importing more oil, yeah?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Expensive food and welfare for corporate farms is better than importing more oil, yeah?"

        Yeah, it is. If we stopped transferring all our wealth to oil-producing nations, stopped subsidizing petroleum, and stopped the trillions of dollars spent to 'secure' the oil resources, food at double the price would still leave us all with more money. But since food prices are directly tied to oil prices, food would get cheaper.

        As for 'welfare', we subsidize the oil industry far more than ethanol already, not even counting the defense expenditures.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X