February 7, 2011

I’ll bet you are waiting with baited breath for E15 to show up at your corner service station.  So where is it?  The EPA has granted the ethanol lobby’s waiver to allow E15 to be put in cars and light trucks made from 2001 on, which apparently represents about 2/3 of all vehicles on the road.

Could the delay possible stem from three major lawsuits against the EPA for granting a waiver that apparently they don’t have the legal authority to grant?  (NPRA lawsuit here, API lawsuit here and NMMA/auto mfg. lawsuit here)

Or could the delay possibly be that there is no ASTM specification for E15 and many states will not allow the sale of motor fuel without ASTM specification.

Or could the delay be that 21 states have statutes that only allow blending up to E10 to be sold for non flex-fuel vehicles in those state, including California which is the largest gasoline market in the nation.  These laws will have to be changed before E15 can be put into other than a flex-fuel vehicle.

Or maybe it is because the waiver is NOT MANDATORY, it is only voluntary, and the gasoline producers and service station associations said quite clearly in their E15 waiver remarks that unless they were granted immunity from damage claims for E15, they wouldn’t distribute it.

Or possibly it is because of the most ironic reason of all, there are a number of current EPA regulations that are going to have to be changed.

As I have pointed out before, the clock is ticking.  We will reach the blending wall by early next year, at the latest, and E15 was supposed to delay the blending wall.  But all of the reasons cited above will probably take years to sort out.  So if you were really counting on putting E15 into your new car that has no warranty for it, and paying more for less mileage, it would be better to exhale now.



  1. This website is a joke. Saying E10 is the reason an engine couldnt start to put a fire out are you serious? This country is filled with people like that dont have any of the hard facts about ethonal and just like to bash it. Ethanol is a much better fuel then gas and is produced here in the US by US people. When we all get on the same page about ethanol and get some american car companies to built engines made to run on the 105 octane fuel E85 then you will see its real usage. Not just dumping more fuel into these “flex fuel” cars that we have on the road now. But I guess your solution is much better lets build a oil rig in the middle of the ocean and drill down a few miles just so we can supply a quater of our own oil that is much better.

  2. I am dead serious, no pun intended. Small engines are not designed for ethanol blended gasoline, which is why every state that has a mandatory E10 law has an exception for small engine users. All you needed to do to understand the problem is google “small engine problems with ethanol”, more than 170,000 hits. E10 stored in a vented tank for long periods, especially in humid environments, is a known problem. If phase separation occurs, engines will not start.

    Your argument about E85 is specious. You imply that 105 octane fuel will supply more power. You are confusing anti-detonation characteristics with power. E85 has less power than gasoline, a lot less, and can only be used efficiently in an engine that is designed specifically for it, which nobody seems interested in building. If you read all of my blogs, I believe that you will find that I am in favor of E85 engines, but not flex-fuel cars and I don’t think any of my blogs have advocated more drilling, only choices for those people who need ethanol free gasoline, so please stop putting words in my mouth.

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