The AAA has asked the Environmental Protection Agency t... The AAA has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to halt sales of a new blend of gasoline. (Photo courtesy Flickr).
AAA has asked the EPA to stop sales of a new blend of gasoline, asserting that the fuel can cause damage to car engines and could void warranties.

The EPA has contended that cars manufactured from 2001 and on can handle E15, the new blend of gasoline made up of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent petroleum. But AAA warned that only about 12 million of the 240 million cars on the road today have actual approval from the manufacturers to use the fuel.

AAA recently conducted a survey and found that 95 percent of those polled had not heard of the new blend of fuel. The organization found this worrisome due to the fact that many manufacturer warranties do not cover wear and tear from the higher ethanol fuel blend. Using the fuel blend could lead to engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false "check engine" lights when used over a sustained period of time, according to AAA.

"It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle. Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers," AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet told USA Today.

Some groups, such as The Renewable Fuels Association, scrutinized AAA's warning, claiming that the group has been working in the interest of the oil companies.

"If AAA weren't so deep in the 'Big Oil' politics, they would stop manufacturing concern about the efficacy of ethanol blend use and report enthusiastically about ethanol's consumer gasoline price savings," Bob Dinneen, the association's CEO, said in a statement.

E15 has been pushed hard by biofuel groups in the recent past, mainly because the industry needs to hit aggressive blending targets as outlined by the renewable fuel standards.

Vehicles that permit the use of E15 include General Motors vehicles model years 2012 and newer and 2013 model-year Ford vehicles.

However, GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel said the automaker agrees with the AAA warning, according to The Hill. Basel said that the EPA was being "irresponsible" by permitting the use of E15 without undergoing comprehensive testing of the fuel's effects on vehicles.

BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen do not cover damage from E15 under their warranties and Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have said E15 damage may void warranties, according to AAA.

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