The American Petroleum Institute (API) has endorsed the views put forward in an Energy Nation training report on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)*, promoting the material via its SmartBrief newsletter.
Energy Nation report, key elements:
One of the RFS’ biggest drawbacks is that too much ethanol can damage engines and fuel pumps.
In 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the sale of a 15% ethanol (E15) fuel blend for use in vehicle models 2001 and later, despite research that indicates E15 causes engine failure.
A survey by AAA also found that of the 240 million vehicles on the road, only 12 million, or 5%, are manufacturer approved to use E15.
This is why companies like BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen do not cover E15 related damages under their warranties; and Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes Benz and Volvo completely void their warranties if you use it.
Despite the drawbacks, a few retailers offer E15 at the pump, though you may never know it.
A recent survey reveals that 35% of E15 retailers do not properly label E15; while an AAA survey shows that 95% of consumers aren’t familiar with the product.
Even the most vigilant consumer can misfuel as some retailers may use a single gas pump hose to dispense both E10 and E15, which can lead to cross contamination and alter the ethanol content to incorrect proportions.
Beyond small engines, ethanol has the potential to cause leaks in gas station equipment.
In fact, without expensive equipment upgrades, 700 000 gasoline dispensers and 3000 miles of underground piping systems could be at risk if E15 is more widely distributed.
* The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a government mandate that requires oil refiners to blend ethanol into America’s gasoline supply.
Adapted from press release by Emma McAleavey.