The SEMA Action Network (SAN) asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend the partial waiver issued last October to permit the sale of E15 for model year 2007 and newer vehicles. While issuing the waiver, the EPA confirmed that there was insufficient test data to permit E15 to be used in MY 2000 and older light-duty motor vehicles.
E15 is an alcohol that can be mixed with gasoline to result in a cleaner-burning fuel. The most common blend of gasoline and ethanol is E10, or 10 percent of ethanol to 90 percent of gasoline. E15 is gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol.
SAN has consistently voiced concern that ethanol increases water formation which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber. The agency is still gathering data for the 2001-2006 vehicles. The EPA’s ruling responded to a request from the ethanol industry to raise the ethanol content in gasoline from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent.
The SAN also opposed a proposed rule on how to label gas pumps to help prevent vehicle misfueling, citing E10 as an example in which the EPA has not satisfied its mission to provide adequate information to the public on whether the fuel they are buying contains ethanol. There are no uniform nationwide requirements. Labeling rules are subject to state regulation. Some states do not require labels and the rules for other states vary depending upon the content percentage.
SAN recommended that the EPA create national labeling requirements for both E15 and E10, and that the E15 warning label be placed as close as possible to the pump’s product selection mechanism.
Several lawsuits have been filed against the EPA contending that the agency did not have the authority to issue a partial waiver. Legislation may also be introduced in Congress to overturn the waiver. SAN will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.
For more information, visit the SEMA Action Network at www.semasan.com.
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