New Engineering Analysis Confirms E15 Safe for Use in Older Vehicles


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It's Patriotic To Use Ethanol

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Washington September 15, 2010; According to a new comprehensive engineering analysis performed by Ricardo, Inc, an internationally recognized engineering firm, moving from 10 percent ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent will mean little, if any, change on the performance of older cars and light trucks, those manufactured between 1994 and 2000.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering a fuel waiver request to allow ethanol to be blended up to 15 percent. The Agency has previously stated it expected to approve E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles only.

This study, which analyzed the vehicles manufactured by six companies and which represent 25% (62.8 million vehicles) of light duty vehicles on the road today, concluded “that the adoption and use of E15 in the motor vehicle fleet from the studied model years should not adversely affect these vehicles or cause them to perform in a sub-optimal manner when compared with their performance using the E10 blend that is currently available.” “

This analysis provides conclusive evidence for the EPA that there is no reason to limit the availability of E15 to newer vehicles only,” said Bob Dinneen, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President. “ This analysis together with affirmative results in reports from the Department of Energy and other academic and private testing institutions show that there are no significant issues with the use of E15 in virtually all vehicles on the road today.”

The Ricardo, Inc. report, prepared for the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and utilizing acceptable EPA statistical sampling methodology, analyzed a wide variety of findings:

• Changes in EPA emissions regulations during this timeframe increased the tolerance of fuel and vapor handling systems to ethanol blended fuels.

• Vehicles of this vintage were certified by the manufacturers with a high compliance margin.

• Careful review of the effects of exposure from E15 on vehicle driveability, catalytic converter durability and on board diagnostic systems of these model years determined no significant effect from an increase of 5% ethanol.

In analyzing the various vehicles, the Ricardo Inc. analysis found minimal effects on engine components and materials, emission systems (including catalytic converters) and overall performance of raising the ethanol percentage from 10 percent to 15 percent.

In June 2010, in its second delay in seven months, EPA deferred a decision until this month about whether to increase the permissible level of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent, pending the results of further research into whether ethanol damages cars and other vehicles. The following is a summary of the Ricardo, Inc. study:

EPA and the ‘Blend wall’: Removing the Artificial Barrier on Ethanol Blends in Gasoline New Engineering Analysis Confirms E15 Safe for Use in Older Vehicles EPA Decision on E15 Usage Should Incorporate Findings

In spite of ethanol’s environmental advantages, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently caps the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline. Because of this artificial barrier, commonly called “the Blend Wall,” the potential domestic market for ethanol tops out at approximately 12.5 to 13.5 billion gallons. The US ethanol industry expects to exceed this volume this year, with the result that producers are increasing their exports and the nation is losing many of the biofuel’s benefits for the environment and our energy security.

In June 2010, in its second delay in seven months, EPA deferred a decision until this month about whether to increase the permissible level of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent, pending the results of further research into whether ethanol damages cars and other vehicles.

Significant testing has already occurred to assess the safety of higher level ethanol blends. Those results from the Department of Energy and other academic and private testing institutions all show that there are no significant issues with the use of E15 in all vehicles.

A new comprehensive light duty vehicle fleet analysis conducted for the Renewable Fuels Association by Ricardo, Inc., an internationally recognized engineering firm, concludes “that the adoption and use of E15 in the motor vehicle fleet from the studied model years should not adversely affect the vehicles or cause them to perform in a sub-optimal manner when compared with their performance when using the E10 blend that is currently available.”

This conclusion provides additional support for a positive determination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to allow the use of E15 ethanol blends in America’s cars and light trucks. The EPA is expected to announce a long-deferred decision this month on whether to increase the permissible level of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15). EPA appears to be heading down a path that would limit the use of E15 to only those vehicles made after 2001 or perhaps even after 2007.

While much research has been conducted about the effect of 15% ethanol blends on vehicles from model years from 2001 and more recently, there has been little investigation of the impact of E15 on older vehicles.

The engineering analysis performed by Ricardo, Inc. determined that moving from 10 percent ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent, will mean little, if any, change on the performance of cars and light trucks manufactured between 1994 and 2000.

The study analyzed the vehicles manufactured by six automobile manufacturers and which represent 25% (62.8 million vehicles) of light duty vehicles on the road today.

The Ricardo report, prepared for the RFA and utilizing acceptable EPA statistical sampling methodology, analyzed a wide variety of factors:

• Changes in EPA emissions regulations during this timeframe increased the tolerance of fuel and vapor handling systems to ethanol blended fuels.

• Vehicles of this vintage were certified by the manufacturers with a high compliance margin.

• Careful review of the effects of exposure from E15 on vehicle driveability, catalytic converter durability and on board diagnostic systems of these model years determined no significant effect from an increase of 5% ethanol. In analyzing the various vehicles, the Ricardo Inc. analysis found minimal effects on engine components and materials, emission systems (including catalytic converters) and overall performance of raising the ethanol percentage from 10 percent to 15 percent.

SEE ALSO: Groups Opposed To E-15 Launch Campaign
SEE ALSO: World Bank Study Debunks Food vs. Fuel Myth
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SEE ALSO: Ethanol Conversion Untruths, Misinformation and Negative Overstatement: One Example, PBS' Motor Week E85 Conversion Story
SEE ALSO: Big Oil Benefits From Divide and Conquer
SEE ALSO: America's Problem-American Solution
SEE ALSO: Yes Virginia There Is A Single Solution To "No More Gasoline Now"

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