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12 Years Later California Air Resources Board Wakes Up to E15

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How many millions of dollars were wasted on this woefully redundant study?

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Marc Rauch
By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher

Yesterday, July 15th, in the Common Era year of 2022, the great and powerful CARB* has spoken in a news release about their multi-year study on E15 fuel:

Comparison of Exhaust Emissions Between E10 CaRFG and Splash Blended E15

The results of this study on E15 comes twelve years after the United States Environmental Agency (EPA) granted a waiver for the use of E15 fuel (the blend of 15% ethanol with 85% gasoline). The EPA's 2010 decision was based upon the 2009 study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Battelle Memorial Institute. This study cleared E15 and E20 for use and as having no other effects on the tested vehicles than E0 and E10 fuels.

On October 28, 2020, when I learned of CARB's intention to test E15, I wrote in a letter to ethanol industry stake holders:

    "Last Thursday, I read a very disturbing news story about how CARB (California Air Resources Board) is to begin testing E15.

    "The report I read states "Tests will be conducted on 20 late-model vehicles to measure tailpipe and evaporative emissions. Testing a broad sample of makes, models, and technology levels with both E10 and E15 blends will provide CARB with the necessary information to permit the sale of E15 in California." This news was joyously celebrated as if it signaled a monumental breakthrough.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the year 2020. In fact it is the end of the year 2020, very close to the year 2021. The news that CARB will begin testing E15 is at least ten years too late. If this news story wasn't meant as a pre-Halloween joke, it is a travesty. Testing of E15 is not necessary. Testing of E25 is not necessary. Testing of E30 and higher is not necessary. This testing will be a waste of time. It is redundant, It is a scam, and a sham, and anyone celebrating this news should take it on the lam!

    "Sufficient American testing has already been conducted on ethanol-gasoline blends. Hell, sufficient American testing of ethanol-gasoline blends were conducted back around 1907 when the U.S. Navy conducted 2,000 tests. Brazil's decades of experience with E15, E20, E25, and E27 have proven that all vehicles on the road can safely and efficiently use these blends. Great Britain's six decades of experience with E15 and higher blends proves that all vehicles - vehicles that are now classics - can safely and efficiently use the blends. Tests conducted by Glacial Lakes Ethanol and other similar tests on E15 and higher blends have proven their safety and efficiency.

    "In the years that The Auto Channel has been spending lots of time on alternative fuels and energy, I've found CARB to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks in America in getting anything done. They are like the pigs featured in George Orwell's "Animal Farm," who ride the back of the other animals to become the masters and gatekeepers of the farm, only to turn on the other animals as they party with the enemy. The individuals involved in CARB have found themselves an electric gold mine and they're not allowing anyone else in, even if there's a better, more expedient, and less expense way to achieve the goals that they claim to be after. They stood in the way of CNG becoming a viable passenger vehicle fuel, and they have steadfastly ignored or given short shrift to ethanol. I know this first hand because for years I attended and reported on their meetings. The only ethanol to be discussed was usually when they were choosing which drinkable ethanol they wanted in their cocktails after the sessions ended."

Why is the delay significant?
The only immediate and near-time solution to poisonous gasoline emissions is ethanol. If E10 and E15 are not perfect fuels for dealing with the poisonous gasoline emissions it's because there's too much damned gasoline in the blends. Waking up and approving E15 for regular use in California by 2023 (as the CARB study suggests) is 13 years much, much too late.

If America and the world are teetering on the brink of climate change catastrophe, as is screamed from the roof top of the UN building in New York, then CARB has squandered a dozen years of life and sacrificed untold millions of lives in the delay.

Even if man-made catastrophic climate change is nothing more than an overly exaggerated hoax, there are still the very real, very serious gasoline-caused issues of pollution, mental and respiratory illnesses, and new petroleum oil-related wars. Along with these issues is the ever increasing march towards very costly electric vehicles that are ultimately about as dirty and dangerous to civilization as gasoline-fueled vehicles.

For 2013, we should be looking at mandated E30 to E50 for all existing vehicles, and for a national requirement that all new internal combustion engines be manufactured to run on E85 or higher blends.

Incidentally, as could have and should have been expected, the CARB study merely confirmed the already known beneficial results of using E15 versus E0 and E10. So it's just been a waste of time and money. I can't help but suspect that the oil industry got wind of what CARB's findings were going to be, which prompted their support for the recent Tyler Lark, et al., ethanol-bashing report in order to blunt the forthcoming positive ethanol news. Why else would Tyler Lark and his pals want to resurrect the fallacious horse manure studies published by David Pimentel and Tad Patzek a decade and a half ago?

Read my full rebuttal to the Tyler Lark, et al., study by CLICKING HERE

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*I paraphrased the line from the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz." CARB's dominion is about as well-earned as the carnival barker who became Oz.