What's Wrong With This Picture: E15 Ethanol Is Coming Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Reuters reports that White House has approved a label for E15 ethanol blends, which warn motorists not to use the higher blend if their vehicle was built before the 2007 model-year. What Reuters won’t show you is the final label design that was approved… was it the EPA’s proposed design (above), or one of the ethanol lobby’s proposed alternatives (see gallery below). Clearly there’s a bit of a difference between the two, and the EPA was under quite a bit of pressure to not go with the orange-and-red “CAUTION!” version. In documentation from hearings on the E15 labeling issue [ PDF], you can read executives and lobbyists expounding at length about the fact that ethanol is good for America, and that labeling shouldn’t discourage the use of E15. Which it doesn’t…. in 2007 and later vehicles. And if you check the EPA’s docket on the issue, you’ll find plenty of good reasons for preventing “misfueling”. Luckily few gas station owners are likely to invest in E15 pumps anyway, so you may never actually see this label in the wild.

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  • SunnyvaleCA SunnyvaleCA on Jun 10, 2011

    If they are going to require separate pumps for E15, why bother with selling E10 and E15? Instead, go all the way and sell E85 and E0--that would make everyone happy.

    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Jun 10, 2011

      I agree if the EPA was really concerned with the promotion of ethanol as an alternative fuel they really need to stop subsidzing the oil industry with the current blenders credit system. The oil companies are the major benefactor of it. E10 increases their sales since most vehicles loose MPG In experience in my late model FI vehicles it is pretty much 10%. So it does not reduce the amount of gas many vehicles use. It does increase the volume that the oil companies sell though. Most of the time the ethanol costs the oil companies less than it does to make gas, they get the blenders credit, and in most cases do not pass the savings on to the consumer. My wife's DD is a Taurus FFV and while it wasn't purchased because it was a FFV but I figured I'd experiment with it if and when I found it. I'd read all the pro and con "propaganda" and decided to experiment. When I bought it the nearest pump was 85 miles away. The next time I was going to take a trip in that direction I took it. I purchased it on the way there and back so it was pretty much fully E85 when I got home. After the wife had driven it the first time she asked me "what did you do to my car/". It didn't sound like she was happy so I was thinking did it get damaged some how and carefully said "nothing what's wrong with it?" You didn't tune it up or do something to it? "No why?" Well it seems like it has a lot more power. When the MPG was figured vs the E10 it usually drinks the loss was ~13%. The E85 was about 18% less so I came out ahead a few $ for the trip. But comparing the amount of gas used using E85 I only used about 18% that I would have using E10. Later we took it on a trip in and out of areas where we were able to obtain E85. So I ended up inadvertently testing what was somewhere between E40 and E50. With that blend power was improved and the MPG was about 13% better than E10.

  • Busted Knuckle Busted Knuckle on Jun 10, 2011

    I continue to be disgusted by the special interest political machine in this country. The term "civil servant" has long ago lost any relevancy. I'm all for farmers making a living, but we've subsidized corn to the point that we need to keep finding new uses for it because we now can produce so much of the stuff - One thing the U.S. is tremendously good at is growing crops. Take a close look in your cupboard and you'll find corn in nearly everything on the shelf. If the government truly wants to help the U.S. become more energy self-sufficient, they should be looking to cut our fuel with an algae-based fuel source. The energy ratios are about 3.5 to 1, much closer to gasoline.

  • Dimwit Dimwit on Jun 10, 2011

    Bah! Switch to diesel and say goodbye to all this BS!

  • Frizzlefry Frizzlefry on Jun 13, 2011

    I recently went on a road trip to Seattle from Alberta, where i live. No ethanol in the gas in Alberta unless you want it and go to a husky station. I filled up a couple of times in Seattle with Shell V-Power ethanol blend (no choice) and my car did not run as well...I have an Audi engine that requires 91 octane. It did not die or anything dramatic and the difference was barely noticeable, but it was there all the same. She returned to normal once I crossed the border back into Canada and gave it some nice non-ethanol V-Power. My wife noted that the coke in the states tastes funny and its ethanol too, in Canada good old sugar is used in coke. In the states its corn syrup.