Putting E15 (a mix of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) on sale in the U.S. has been all but official since April, when the Environmental Protection Agency approved the first applications to make E15. Now, "all but official" has become official, with the EPA giving approval for retailers to start selling the biofuel. Just because stations can, though, doesn't mean that drivers will be able to get E15 right away. It will take time for the increased biofuel blend, made from corn ethanol, to make it to market, even though most gasoline sold at pumps across the U.S. today is E10.

Also unsurprisingly, there remain critics of the shift to making E15 available. The EPA, which doesn't require any fuel station to sell anything in particular, admits that E15 should only be used in model year 2001 and newer vehicles. In response to the sales approval, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute released a statement calling E15 "dangerous" and that it might "destroy or damage generators, chain saws, utility vehicles, lawn mowers, boats and marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, and more." The EPA does not approve using E15 in these sorts of devices.

Read more on the E15 discussion here, here and here, and feel free to peruse the press release below.
Show full PR text
EPA Decision to Permit 15 Percent Ethanol (E15) in Gasoline Puts Consumers and Equipment At Risk, Says Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

Alexandria, Va – June 18, 2012 -- The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute issues a warning today that the EPA's ruling providing their approval of the sale of 15 percent ethanol (E15) into the U.S. consumer marketplace for automobiles made since 2001, is dangerous. The government's test results that show E15 is harmful to outdoor power equipment, boats and marine engines and other non-road engine products. The fuel used for automobiles and other engine products would have to be divided, substantially increasing the risk for misfueling, significant engine damage and consumer hazard.

"For the first time in American history, fuel used for some automobiles may no longer safe for any non-road products. It may, in fact, destroy or damage generators, chain saws, utility vehicles, lawn mowers, boats and marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, and more," says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, one of the industry groups who have been sending warnings to the federal government about E15.

In September 2011, members of the Engine Products Group (OPEI, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Global Automakers) filed a formal legal challenge to EPA's E15 partial waiver decision. The EPG asked the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the E15 waiver decision. The decision on this matter is expected to be issued at any time by the court.

Said OPEI's Kiser, "EPA purports to educate tens of millions of Americans using hundreds of millions of engine products, asserting it will educate these users with a 3 inch by 3 inch pump label. It's frighteningly inadequate."

Many times OPEI has pointed out that the EPA's prior experience with the introduction of new fuels shows that labeling alone is insufficient to prevent misfueling. As the EPA led the transition to unleaded fuels, the Agency reported a misfueling rate of nearly 15 percent almost ten years after the introduction of unleaded gasoline, and even with a physical barrier at the pumps.

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The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 80 engine and equipment manufacturers worldwide in the utility, forestry, landscape, and lawn and garden industry. OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety standards. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org.


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  • 85 Comments
      icerabbit
      • 2 Years Ago
      Like it isn't bad enough with 10% ethanol. There goes another batch of subsidies supporting big ethanol while we consumers get less miles per gallon and suffer all kinds of mechanical problems with our personal vehicles, outdoor equipment, recreational vehicles. I've had to replace several parts which dealers relate somewhat to age but given the sheer number of identical issues they see it can only be related to ethanol. So then you're also going through several bottles additives a year to combat issues, and hope that will minimize issues. Our truck, which sits idle for prolonged periods of time, needed $$$$ fuel related repairs last year (wouldn't start >>> pump, tank cleaning, lines, ...), I now fill up with 0% ethanol at $4+/gallon. There's only one station in the area that I'm aware of that has it. And, I'm not saying we're not to blame for letting a big inefficient pickup truck sit idle too much, but I suspect gasoline was the thing that did it in. Years and decades ago, as long as you had power things would start up and you'd be on your merry way without having to worry the fuel is eating away at your tank, lines, pump, ... of your vehicle, boat, ...
        icerabbit
        • 2 Years Ago
        @icerabbit
        PS: Some official fuel economy numbers I saw recently putting things in perspective regarding fuel economy, savings, ... 2012 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe 3.5 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 7-spd Premium Gasoline or E85 http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=32298 Premium fuel: 20 City - 23 Combined - 28 Highway - $2,600 per year E85 fuel: 15 City - 17 Combined - 21 Highway - $2,750 per year And why again is E85 better when it also ends up costing more than premium fuel???
          montoym
          • 2 Years Ago
          @icerabbit
          It uses 85% less oil than pure gasoline. That's softened a bit due to the lowered fuel mileage, but it's still a very significant decrease in oil used. Ethanol burns cleaner as well and can be sourced from the US vs. billion spent on importing oil each year.
      BG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another dumb idea. And despite the claim of E15 being fine for cars younger than 2001, this is nonsense. As an example, BMWs are experiencing damage to in-talk fuel pumps from E10. Several people below said use only 100% gasoline: great idea IF you town has a station with 100%.
      Wetstuff
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's like the old Soviet Union running agriculture in this country. These small state senators push the cost of farm welfare on the rest of us. They don't employ anybody except illegals.. and want us to guarantee them a minimum income. Socialists bandits. Jim
      Car Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't want this garbage anywhere near my vehicles. Screw you ethanol lobby!
      Dan
      • 2 Years Ago
      In the past few years I have had to replace 2 fuel pumps... Something I have never had to do before in a "young" car. Coincidence? Probably not... I have also had to replace a weed whacker and lawn blower due to engine failure.. Then they finally come out and say oh ethanol is bad for small motors... GO FAWK yourself EPA! I'm all about fuel efficiency and technology, but this is causing major problems IMO thus causing more waste.
      jcwconsult
      • 2 Years Ago
      The problem is that most stations will NOT have one set of current gas storage tanks for Regular, Intermediate, and Premium gas with E10 and a brand new expensive set of tanks for E15. They are likely to pick one or the other blend to sell, because the costs of duplicate systems is too high. Places that choose E15 WILL be selling a lot of fuel to owners of pre-2001 vehicles and for use in small motor devices where the E15 WILL be seriously damaging. The only way E15 would be acceptable would be at a separate pump, as E85 is usually found. But the EPA in their relentless drive for E15 doesn't really give a tinker's you-know-what about who gets hurt, they just wanted E15 to be for sale - regardless of the negative consequences. James C. Walker, National Motorists Association and the owner of a small boat where E15 would be terribly damaging, Ann Arbor, MI
      50 AKA Ferrari
      • 2 Years Ago
      TIme to start investing in corn.
      rlog100
      • 2 Years Ago
      Isn't the tariff and subsidy gone? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/u-s-congress-stops-ethanol-subsidies-tariff-on-brazilian-imports/ I mean if anyone is buying Senators, its Brazil.
      Always On
      • 2 Years Ago
      Luckily in my area three different stations carry non-ethanol "Clear" 92 octane. I will continue to buy this until it is no longer sold. It simply runs better and I get better mileage.
      paqza
      • 2 Years Ago
      Corn lobby wins again. Over and over again, studies show that corn ethanol is a bad idea but yet it keeps on getting pushed through. Corn ethanol will never be cost-effective without subsidies whereas other technologies could use subsidies to get started but have more promising futures. Gas stations and mechanics are going to have a field day when car owners realize see their fuel mileage dropping and their seals disintegrating.
        Drakkon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @paqza
        It's a free country. But it's a lot more free if you have millions of dollars to bribe Congress. It seems odd that corn seems to be the only thing to bring bipartisanship. Especially when the result is the American consumer getting ####ed over.
      me73
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why .... this is going to make emissions worse and going to decrease fuel mileage. Freaken idiots ... we are doing more damage to the earth by burning ethanol.
        Fgergergrergr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @me73
        It does't make emissions worse. Mileage difference would be small even in a car not optimized for ethanol content (which are all the flex cars currently available). Environmental damage is very high with getting oil from sand as they do up in Canada. Ethanol production gets cleaner and more efficient every year.
          montoym
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Fgergergrergr
          Agreed. If you assume that E85 decreases mileage by about 25% (which is largely correct), then E15 with nearly 1/6 of the Ethanol in it would only decrease mileage by about that same percentage. So, you're looking at more like a 4% decrease in mileage which on a 30mpg vehicle means you'd get 28.8mpg instead of 30mpg. Environmental changes from day to day will sway your mileage more than that. It's pretty much a non-issue.
      Tom
      • 2 Years Ago
      So let me get this right. A survey recently came out saying the average car is 11 years old. Shortly thereafter, the EPA allows fuel that will not work in the average car. EPA, where exactly was your brain in all of this? In the pocket of the corn lobby I take it.
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