The availability of E15 at a Zarco 66 station in Lawrence, Kansas, touched off an exchange between the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
The new blend, consisting of 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol, could damage vehicle engines, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said in a statement July 12.
“We need to press the pause button on EPA’s rush to allow higher amounts of ethanol in our gasoline,” said Bob Greco, API downstream group director, referring to a ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency to allow sale of E15 for certain vehicles. “The new fuel could lead to engine damage in more than 5 million vehicles on the road today and could void the manufacturer’s warranty,” Greco said.
A study by the auto and oil industries determined that E15 can cause damage even though EPA has approved use of the new fuel for cars and light trucks model year 2001 and newer, Greco said. In addition, he said, automobile manufacturers have said that vehicle warranties will not cover damage attributed to E15.
“Our first priority should be protecting consumers and the investments they’ve made in their automobiles,” said Greco. “EPA has an obligation to base this decision on science and not on a political agenda.” He said consumers should follow fueling recommendations in their owner’s manuals and read all gasoline pump labels carefully before refueling.
API represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies
The RFA called the study cited by API “highly questionable.”
“The protocols involved in this study were questionable enough to draw a harsh rebuke from the U.S. Department of Energy which conducted more than 6 million miles of testing on E15 and found no problems for vehicles built in model year 2001 and newer,” the RFA said in a statement.
RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen said a “smear campaign and fear mongering” surround the introduction of E15 into the market. “The fact remains that E15 has been the most thoroughly tested fuel in American history and ethanol has been a safe and effective fuel component in wide use for more than three decades,” Dinneen said. “It’s time to move past the nonsense and constructively work to bring Americans the choice at the pump they want and deserve. Such a choice is beginning in Lawrence with E15.”