A new research report out from the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) contests that EPA's approval of gasoline containing as much as 15% ethanol (E15) was "irresponsible" and does more damage to vehicles than EPA admits.

Use of the ethanol gasoline blend E15 may endanger fuel systems in millions of 2001 and newer vehicles, API Group Director of Downstream and Industry Operations Bob Greco said last week, citing newly completed research by the Coordinating Research Council, an organization created and supported by the oil and auto industries.

Greco said that automobile manufacturers have told Congress that vehicle warranties will not cover damage due to E15 and that half of all retail station equipment in the country is incompatible with E15, according to a thorough analysis of government and independent research, conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, an oil industry group.

The research highlighted several issues:
The additional E15 testing, completed this month, has identified an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine. Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways. Fuel system component problems did not develop in the CRC tests when either E10 or E0 was used. It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.


According to a recent Oil & Gas Journal article:
"CRC’s tests are more comprehensive than US Department of Energy tests EPA cited to justify its E15 actions, Greco said. “The more we study, the more problems we uncover,” he observed.

E15’s potential problems are among many indications that the 113th Congress should repeal the federal Renewable Fuel Standard mandated under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, according to Greco.

“The world has changed since it was enacted,” he explained. “Consumer demand for fuels has dropped, while domestic supplies of crude oil have grown dramatically because of the revolution in shale oil and natural gas development in the US. This has reduced imports, one of the stated purposes of the RFS.”