Des Moines, Iowa — Triple-A is issuing a warning about one of the products many Iowa farmers are backing — a gasoline and ethanol blend with 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, called E-15. Triple-A officials are saying sales of the fuel should be halted until it’s more thoroughly tested. The motor club is urging the federal E-P-A to stop allowing the 15-percent ethanol blend to be pumped, claiming it’s damaging millions of engines. Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says consumers don’t realize how harmful the fuel may be.
(As above) “Five manufacturers are on record saying their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15,” White says. “Seven additional automakers have stated that the use of E15 may void warranty coverage.”
Only certain vehicles are made to use the fuel. Of some 240-millon vehicles on the road, roughly 12-million are considered “flex fuel” capable. Ethanol supporters say E-15 is safe for virtually all post-2001 vehicles, based on extensive government-sponsored testing. White says consumers need to be absolutely certain what type of fuel their vehicle can take.
(As above) “To help prevent any problems, we’re urging consumers to carefully read the fuel pump labels and know your auto manufacturer’s fuel recommendations before using any type of new fuel blend,” White says. “Fuel recommendations are listed in in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.”
Iowa is the nation’s number-one ethanol producer with more than 40 plants operating. About 95-percent of the gasoline sold in the U-S is up to ten-percent ethanol. The E-15 fuel contains five-percent more ethanol. After winning EPA approval several months ago, White says E-15 is still only sold in three Midwestern states.
(As above) “The new E-15 fuel was just released on the market and there are stations located in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska,” White says.
There are 10 stations currently selling E-15 as a registered fuel but that number is expected to grow. Eight of those stations are in Kansas, with one each in Iowa and Nebraska. The lone Iowa station is in Marion. However, stations may also sell E15 as an alternative fuel, usable only in flexible fuel vehicles, and there are stations that are doing that as well.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) today responded to Triple-A’s statement. IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw stated:
“As a soon-to-be ex-AAA member I am disappointed they agreed to be a tool for Big Oil. And that is the main point. If you dig below the surface of any of these attacks on the RFS or E-15 your shovel will come out covered in oil. The irony is that AAA is best known for reporting gas prices – prices that are, according to Iowa State University, a dollar lower due to E-10.”
E-10 of course is 10 percent ethanol, which is in wide use.
IRFA noted that both Ford and GM have recommend the use of E-15 in their new vehicles.