15% ETHANOL GASOLINE – A POTENTIAL CRISIS DEVELOPING
By Pete Landry (August 4, 2011)
Growth Energy, a lobby group for a large group of ethanol manufacturing plants in the Midwest petitioned the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in early 2009 to increase the ethanol content of motor fuels from the current 10% maximum (except for “Flex” fuel) to 15%, a 50% increase. The EPA allowed input into this proposal and were inundated with replies, mostly negative. Despite the response, the EPA began testing vehicles with 15% ethanol. In December, 2010, the EPA issued “conditional approval” for the use of 15% ethanol gasoline in 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. Then, in January, 2011, they extended the approval to use this new gasoline in 2001 thru 2006 cars and light trucks, despite lawsuits against the EPA from eight different groups. The biggest concern expressed by litigants was the potential for “misfueling”, or using this gasoline in equipment which was not designed to operate with this fuel.