E15 Fuel: More Harm Than Good?
by Robert L. Darbelnet, AAA President & CEO
Only about 5 percent of light-duty vehicles are approved by manufacturers to use E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline.
(NAPSI)—To keep more American motorists on the road to safety and savings, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and gasoline retailers should suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until more is done to protect consumers from the potential for costly auto damage and voided warranties.
Recent research raises serious concerns that E15, a fuel blend consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and other problems such as false “check engine” lights. This potential damage could result in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers.
Nearly all the gasoline sold in the United States today is E10, which contains up to 10 percent ethanol, primarily produced from corn. While AAA believes ethanol-blended fuels can save Americans money and reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels, sufficient evidence has not been found to show E15 is safe for most vehicles. In fact, the Renewable Fuels Association warned retailers that some underground storage tank systems exhibited reduced levels of safety and performance when exposed to E15.
What’s more, many automakers say they may void warranties for anyone using E15. That’s understandable, since most cars were never designed for E15. Unless you drive a Porsche or a brand-new car, you could be out of luck when it comes to E15-and you might not even know you’re using it. A recent survey by AAA found an overwhelming 95 percent of consumers surveyed have not even heard of E15.
Fortunately, there may be a solution: The EPA, fuel producers and automakers can collectively develop a long-term plan that promotes public education, while implementing improved labeling and warnings at the pump.
Meanwhile, AAA urges consumers to carefully read pump labels and follow the recommendations of manufacturers to protect themselves from voided warranties or potential damage.
E15 is not yet ready for public consumption and government regulators should suspend sales until consumers are better informed and protected.
• As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. More at www.AAA.com.
• First published in The Hill.