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RAISING THE ethanol percentage in gasoline from today’s E10 (10-percent ethanol) to E15 (hence a 50-percent larger dose) now has a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. See http://goo.gl/YKjND for details.
Not surprisingly, the court sided with the ethanol lobby and against gasoline producers, automakers, marine and other small-engine manufacturers, the food and grocery industries, AAA and even some environmentalists.
Most cars appear to work fine on today’s E10. At the other extreme, Flex Fuel cars need to be specially built to run on E85. In between these two lies controversy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says its research indicates cars built after 2001 have no problems with E15.
However, unlike EPA, automakers carry the warranty and liability aspects of this. Incompatible seals are one worry, leading to potential fuel leaks and resulting fires. Problems of driveability and adverse effects on mpg are also concerns.
Older cars will require a multiplicity of fuels being offered: maybe E85; of course diesel; and E15 in regular, maybe mid-grade, and high-test; and last, “legacy” E10 in two or three grades.
Consumer education is certainly called for. Otherwise, expect misunderstood pricing, misfueling and general confusion at the pumps.
My recommendation is a straightforward one: Opt for E10. Let E15 proponents hang their pump nozzles high and dry. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2013