The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be faced with a decision on the future of ethanol soon and no matter what choice is made, it won't be a popular one. Ethanol producers are pushing the EPA to raise the blend level in gasoline to 15 percent (E15), but automakers and oil companies are pushing back with hopes of keeping the current 10 percent level (E10).
Up until now, automakers speculated that damage to this component or failure of that part would occur with the move to E15. Without concrete evidence that E15 could prove damaging to vehicles, it seems quite likely that the EPA will move forward and raise levels.

For automakers, then, there's no time like the present to come forward with actual tests that prove E15 could damage vehicles. The New York Times reports that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing 11 automakers, has real data to prove (so they say) that E15 will damage numerous gasoline engines. Speaking on behalf of the alliance, General Motors biofuel implementation manager C. Coleman Jones said that the increased ethanol levels caused problems in at least half of the engines tested. E15 made engines run hot, compromised catalytic converters and even damaged cylinder walls. Jones added that E15 could leave motorists stranded on the roadside.

The two sides, the auto industry and ethanol producers, have pushed back and forth for some time now. The auto industry wants the changeover to E15 to be delayed until further testing is complete, ethanol producers need the switch to be immediate or they risk losing a lot of cash.

[Source: NYTimes | Image: Drewzhrodague - C.C. License 2.0]

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