EPA Won't Rule On E15 Based On Two Cars Worth Of Data

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Well, the good news is that the EPA has thus far refused to allow gasoline blends of more than ten percent ethanol. The bad news is that the Agency has yet to take a firm stand against the idea of eventually allowing E15 into the nation’s gas pumps. In fact, as the EPA’s response to the ethanol lobbying group Growth Energy’s request to allow E15 [ full document in PDF form here] opens:

It is vitally important that the country increase the use of renewable fuels. To meet that goal EPA is working to implement the long-term renewable fuels mandate of 36 billion gallons by 2022. To achieve the renewable fuel requirements in future years, it is clear that ethanol will need to be blended into gasoline at levels greater than the current limit of 10 percent.

This time though, the glacial pace of bureaucracy is a positive. Though the EPA believes that “the robust fuel, engine and emissions control systems on newer vehicles (likely 2001 and newer model years) will likely be able to accomodate higher ethanol blends, such as E15,” it won’t have definitive results until August of 2010. After all, the EPA admits that “presently, data are available on only two vehicles.” By May though, it will have tested 12 additional vehicles, making the data set literally good enough for government work. Unless that data “highlights potential problems,” the EPA says it will approve E15 for 2001 model year and later cars, pending the necessary changes in pump and vehicle labeling. [Hat Tip: Paul Greenberg]

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Davekaybsc Davekaybsc on Dec 01, 2009

    So what do you do when you want to try and avoid this shit for FE reasons, or have an '00 or earlier car? Pure gasoline is getting harder and harder to find in my area, and I'm not at all excited about the idea of paying the same money to take a big drop in MPG. Once E15 inevitably shows up, how long will it take before there's only one station left in town where you can get real gasoline?

    • Daniel J. Stern Daniel J. Stern on Dec 01, 2009

      What makes you think there'd be even one such station?

      As for those of us with pre-'01 cars, we haven't got warranties, therefore there's no corporate interest behind us—in fact, corporate interests are quite squarely against us—therefore we will simply be ѕhit outta luck.

  • Dhanson865 Dhanson865 on Dec 01, 2009

    There are several gas stations within 5 miles of my house that have 100% gas at all pumps all grades. I'm not sure how long it will stay that way if government subsidies and ethanol percentages keep tempting them but so long as I can buy 100% gas I will. If the choice was there to buy 5% ethanol or 15% I'd take 5% without complaining about losing the 0% option but then again how many stories have you read where the ethanol percentage was fudged?

    • Daniel J. Stern Daniel J. Stern on Dec 01, 2009

      Wow, you're fortunate. Everywhere I've lived where they've adulterated gasoline with "deathanol" (as my carburetor guru calls it), even in those locations where it hasn't been mandatory, it has quickly become impossible to buy unadulterated gasoline. And the labelling is a joke even if the number quoted is accurate, because (at least around here) it says "CONTAINS UP TO 10% ETHANOL".