Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is adding to its campaign arsenal to block Big Oil from winning the E15 battle. This time it's going with debate tactics.

Kristy Moore, vice president of technical services at RFA, posted on the association's blog a detailed list the "far from factual" items in the Coordinating Research Council's engine durability study. The American Petroleum Institute (the leading Big Oil association) has used the CRC study to convince the public and courts that blended gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15) is very bad for engines.

Moore presented a chart from the study and referenced API/CRC press releases to throw out a couple of damaging statistics – 33 percent of the tested vehicles failed on gasoline with no ethanol; and 75 percent of the eight vehicle models tested passed on E20, yet somehow one of the duplicate models failed.

Moore said the US Department of Energy confirmed that the test protocol used by API was highly speculative. The RFA didn't participate in the API study because the protocals and pass/fail criteria were questionable, the vehicles in the study were geared to provoke engine failures, and the test fuels included weren't accurate. "In my assessment, the RFA and government agencies didn't want to participate simply because they didn't want to waste taxpayer money on political science," Moore wrote.


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  • 28 Comments
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      In 1973, the US imported about 30% of its oil, half of that from OPEC countries. By 2007, we imported 60% of our oil, again half from OPEC countries. A small downtick from that high point is not impressive. Furthermore, what's more important than whether we directly import oil from OPEC (although that is important) is that OPEC controls the world market price for oil, whether that oil comes from OPEC nations or not. OPEC has more than 78% of the world's commercially recoverable oil reserves, including virtually ALL of the easiest to access, cheapest to extract, most-wanted stuff (light sweet crude). You present no rationale by which substituting gasoline for ethanol makes gasoline more expensive. Ethanol does not cause "devastation" to the rain forest, because it is not grown in the rain forest, or former rain forest. The soil is not conducive for sugar cane; rather, ethanol cane is grown in Brazil's southern grasslands which are roughly analogous to our own Great Plains. I have pointed this out to you over and over, but you pretend that you are ignorant of it each time this topic comes up, and just repeat your rain forest lie, hoping that this time you won't get called out. On CO2, while ethanol emits CO2 when burning, it does so less than gasoline does, and the CO2 being emitted was already part of the carbon cycle and would have returned to the air eventually on its own. By contrast, fossil fuels introduce new, additional carbon to the cycle that was not there before and would not have been there had we not removed it from its natural underground sequestration via drilling or mining, and then burned it into the air. Furthermore, growing plants such as ethanol crops pulls CO2 out of the air.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      @ carney373 Cutting through all the ranting, your main points in defence of US corn-based ethanol are: 1) Prevent a "monopoly" by OPEC . 2) Is renewable and reduces the need to drill for oil. 3) Is good for the environment 4) Should be made compulsory Carney, are these arguments, are very old and have been long since discarded by everyone except the RFA and ethanol fanatics. 1) The is no OPEC monopoly ! The US imports far less oil than previously. The US now produces 60% of it's oil requirements (even exporting oil products). Of the oil the US does import the major sources are; Canada (28%) Saudi Arabia (13%) Mexico (10%) Venezuela (9%) Russia (5%) There is no "OPEC Monopoly" and hasn't been for several decades. OPEC mostly exports to India and the PRC. 2) Far from preventing drilling for oil, ethanol production simply makes gasoline unnecessarily expensive and less efficient, creating the need for more gasoline to travel the same distance. 3) The devastation to the environment, especially C02 emissions, rain forest depletion, and a hundred other harmful effects, far outweigh any minor benefit (dubious at best. ) 4) Discovering that a once promising technology turned out badly, is not stupid or dishonourable, it's just a facet of human scientific progress, but stubbornly insisting that a mistake be made ''compulsory'", at great pubic expense, once the truth has been revealed, is both stupid and criminally dishonest !
      Allch Chcar
      • 1 Year Ago
      The EPA published a statement about this awhile ago pointing out the inherent flaws in the study. I believe it was even posted here at some point. It was very obvious from the testing procedure that the test was rigged to produce a desired result. Not to mention that several cars even failed on Gasoline.
      EVnerdGene
      • 1 Year Ago
      carney, To get the full benefit from E85, wouldn't a flex-vehicle need a lot higher compression ratio ? However, if it had a higher CR, then it would require premium E0 or E10 fuel. According to fueleconomy.gov there are already 313 flex-fuel models available in 2013 in the USA. I don't know what you are complaining about. You can't find one of the 313 you want, so you want to cram flexfuel down everyone's else's throat to make you happy ? Or what ?
      Sol
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't care one way or the other but if there is even the slightest chance of e15 doing any damage at all to my car's seals and fuel system then I want nothing to do with it unless of course I can submit all possible repair bills to the RFA and other E15 supporters.
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Sol
        So don't buy any E15 if you don't want to. E15 is 100% a choice to drivers who want to use it, there is no E15 mandate for force anyone to buy it if they don't want to. If you are worried about warranty, buy a new Ford or GM vehicle, who have both certified there new gas vehicles with E15, and any damage would be covered under warranty.
        Allch Chcar
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Sol
        The difference between E10 and E15 is negligible. RF Gasoline is actually very corrosive on it's own and there are additives being used to counteract it's effects. Just check one of the compatibility tables for RF Gasoline compared to Ethanol. People have run E85 through non-flexfuel cars without any fuel system failure for years. There is a huge amount of rumors and exaggerated claims regarding Ethanol. Most of the same cars that run reliably on E10 could very well run E30 maybe E40 before engine tuning becomes an issue and E85 with engine tuning for many years. But there isn't much long term testing of the effects beyond a few years. Most of the problems I've heard of have been with E10 and could easily be the result of non-compatible/worn parts or bad fuel. Ethanol is a remarkable fuel system cleaner so it's arguable that it reduces engine reliability unless a substantial amount of buildup leads to a clogged injector or fuel pump. Some fuel system parts are maintenance items so it's tough to filter through the FUD.
      EVnerdGene
      • 1 Year Ago
      Linear function? If E10 is 100% stupid, does that make E15 150% stupid ?
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        PR/raktmn There is nothing 'smart' about US ethanol production. Neither Gene nor I have ever, " finally admitting over and over that each of your assumptions have been wrong about ethanol" ! That's simply your distorted fantasy ! But, the bit about you attempting to "force-feed'' your pro-ethanol propaganda is correct, and goes along way to explain the psychology of ethanol supporters desperate defence of mandates. !
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        Yes, and if E10 is 100% smart, it also makes E15 150% smart, and E85 850% smart. Your problem is that despite you finally admitting over and over that each of your assumptions have been wrong about ethanol (after being force-fed the facts) you still go back to not understanding why we have ethanol, and why it is smart.
        Marco Polo
        • 7 Days Ago
        @EVnerdGene
        @ EVnerdGene Yes !
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      The funniest thing about the oil company test, is that "33 percent of the vehicles tested failed on gasoline with no ethanol." The oil companies just proved that pure gasoline isn't safe for gas cars!! How hilarious!
      Seth
      • 1 Year Ago
      @marcopolo replying to carney373 you say: "less efficient, creating the need for more gasoline to travel the same distance" This is easily dis-proven with basic math. E10, and E85 both go farther per gallon of gasoline in the tank simply because you are using 10% or 85% less. It's in the name. Yes the 'blended' fuel may have not drive you as far overall (E85 anyway), but per gallon of gas in the blend, you are actually driving much much farther than you would on gas alone. Think of ethanol in the gas as another stored energy to assist the engine, just like in a hybrid the battery has stored energy and it assists.
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The question raised by the API of whether ethanol does or doesn't damage engines, is fairly irrelevant. It really doesn't matter what the court decides, as more state governments move against ethanol, sooner or later, a federal government will also cut the Ethanol lobby loose to sink or swim without federal mandates. When that occurs, that's the end of US ethanol production. The RFA is attempting to defend the use of an obsolete, environmentally harmful, destructive product, which only survives by government mandates, corrupt subsidies, and farm lobby politics. Even if it's possible to design engines to operate on ethanol of any percentage without any damage, why would anyone bother? What benefit is there in replacing one environmentally harmful fuel, with an even worse one that deliver less energy and costs more ? End the mandated use of US corn-based ethanol and put a stop to this taxpayer/consumer funded failed experiment, that's been dragging on for 40 Years.
        carney373
        • 7 Days Ago
        @Marco Polo
        You attempt to stigmatize ethanol as a beneficiary of government intervention in the marketplace while carefully ignoring the reality that any economic damage or inefficiency caused by such intervention pales in comparison to the massive damage done to the economy by oil having a monopoly on transportation, a monopoly enabling OPEC (which controls and will forever control the price of oil) to set prices artificially high. Total pro-ethanol intervention, including the subsidy that expired in January 2012, comes to less than $10 billion annually. Compared to the HUNDREDS of billions drained from our economy directly by OPEC, not to mention the trillions in wealth destroyed by the 2008 crash which was to a great degree caused by OPEC driving the price of oil up 1,400% in nine years. As for the environment, nothing is perfect or without impact but what matters is whether the alternative is better than the status quo, net and overall, NOT only focusing on the downside. Ethanol is endorsed by the American Lung Association, and burns without smoke / soot / particulate matter, without sulfur, and with significantly less NOx (to which ethanol vapor is less than a tenth as reactive as gasoline vapor anyway). Ethanol, if spilled in water, dissolves on its own and is broken down into harmless components by naturally occurring bacteria; oil remains concentrated and persistent, requiring chemical dispersants or expensive physical cleanup. Ethanol does not deposit gunk in engines and has no need of carcinogenic and mutagenic "detergents" advertised by premium gasolines. Ethanol is a renewable biofuel that greatly reduces the need to dig up or drill more fossil fuel. In short, ethanol is an enormous improvement over the status quo and deserves aggressive support. If subsidies and other interventions are needed permanently, so be it. But a public policy less offensive to free market purists is available - simply make ethanol and methanol compatibility a required standard feature like seat belts, in the proposed Open Fuel Standards Act.
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      No! He must buy it! Then when he does he wants all possible repair bills paid for by the slightest chance of damage (I don't know why I found that so humorous). In a good mood today...
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      How's about an analysts where neither side has a horse in the race?
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        GM and Ford did their own certification work, and they saw no problem with certifying with E15. You can buy them right now with full factory warranties with E15. Neither of them make a single penny when their vehicles are filled either with straight gas or E15.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          @ Cool Waters My background is engineering - as a result, I can't stand not understanding something. Once I said it out loud and realized I was not sure...then it was just a matter of time. In reality, I am a bit surprised the automakers don't all spend the few extra $$ on the flex fuel technology. With minimal investment they can then put, "FFV" or better yet, a green leaf on the side of the car. Not that most people will use alt fuels, but it promotes some good will with the auto makers, and, if there is a pump with E-Whatever, then it won't bother the car. Oh - I was just up in Michigan and they have a lot of E-85 pumps. With some refinery problem, gas prices were around $4.25 a gallon. E-85 was $3.09 a gallon. And before anyone screams, yes, subsidies, but that is a $1 less a gallon, and, the drop is gas mileage makes this quite a nice alternative. Unfortunately I had a rental and not my Beloved 2000 Ford Ranger FFV ULEV. Would have filled up on it in a heart beat.
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          Nice research.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          Good point. I know a large number of Ford's with the V6 work up to E85. And I THINK the sat impala I had had the same rating as well. When I looked my Ranger over, the only changes were (this was years ago so I may miss somethng), a few different hoses, a sensor fr the engine, and MAYBE a water separator, although I may be confusing that with the ne I installed on my boat.
          EZEE
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          Okay fine fine...I couldn't stand it and did the research. Here is the diff: There is only one major additional part that is included on an FFV-the fuel sensor that detects the ethanol/gasoline ratio. A number of other parts on the FFV's fuel delivery system are modified so that they are ethanol compatible. The fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel injectors, computer system, anti-siphon device and dashboard gauges have been modified slightly. Alcohols are corrosive. Therefore, any part that comes in contact with the fuel has been upgraded to be tolerant to alcohol. Normally, these parts include a stainless steel fuel tank and Teflon lined fuel hoses. So the 'real' difference is the sensor, and the dashboard gauge they are talking about, in my ranger at least, is simply a light that lights up to tell me I have e85 in the tank. Also, Ford charged me no more for this than other models tht did not have the flex fuel capability, so the changes cannot be that expensive. Oddly, as an aside, I THINK the ranger had mild tuning differences as well to achieve the ULEV status. I looked over the specs and saw nothing different. And with all of the discounts, rebates, Z Plan, credit card kickback, I aid $13,000 for it (in 2000).
          Allch Chcar
          • 1 Year Ago
          @raktmn
          You are correct about the physical alcohol content sensor. Newer FFVs were switched to a virtual sensor and now they are going back to the physical sensor. Even though the cost is small(the parts altogether retail for a couple hundred), there are some other considerations. The entire car must last under warranty and pass emissions under the new 100k mile standard. The Focus, Cruze, and Dart were all designed to be flexfuel for the newest generation. The Focus had a delayed switch over and there was some emissions problems in getting the Cruze certified. IIRC, it was from a lean condition not triggering an engine light. The Dodge Dart is supposed to be flexfuel either this year or next. Contrary to imports, the Big three have made most of their vehicles compatible with E85 years ago and are just delayed in adding the flexfuel capabilities. That was one of the reasons I was considering a new Focus even when the Mazda3 was better equipped for the same price.
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      Marcopolo, you also distort my argument by saying I want ethanol use to be mandatory. I want ethanol COMPATIBILITY to be mandatory, so consumers finally at least have a choice to use it, whereas 90% + of consumers today can't use it even if they wanted to because their cars are locked in to gasoline ONLY.
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