Growth Energy Disputes Auto Industry Claims

Growth Energy Disputes Auto Industry Claims

Auto industry is saying that 15% ethanol-blended gasoline can harm older vehicles and small engines.

The Environmental Protection Agency has come under renewed fire from automakers and public officials after the agency released its E15 pump labeling rule. A dozen major automakers now claim E15 could damage their vehicle's engines. But Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis calls the claim nonsense.

"Some of the automobile manufacturers have certainly opposed to going to E15, especially in older models," Buis said. "But what you have to keep in mind is EPA only approved E15 use in any car or light duty truck manufactured in the last decade, 2001 and newer."

Buis argues EPA's new labels for pumps, and a public education campaign, are aimed at keeping E15 in the right vehicles.

"Consumers aren't stupid, they're not going to pick the wrong fuel, so we think moving to E15 won't cause any problems," Buis said. "EPA and DOE's extensive testing program, which by the way was the most extensive ever in a fuel approval waiver, in over six million miles testing there were no problems in any car or light duty truck manufactured in the past decade."

House Science, Space and Technology Vice-Chair James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., cited the dozen automakers in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. He has also introduced a bill to block EPA's allowing the use of E15 in 2001 and newer vehicles.

As for problems burning conventional 10% ethanol blends approved for older vehicles and small engines Buis has an explanation for that.

"Often times what happens with infrequent usage of fuel is leaving the fuel in the tank and it may not run for decent use," Buis said. "Any fuel goes stale, even gasoline, and then they want to blame it on ethanol."

Buis adds that E15 was never approved for use in older model vehicles or small engines. And while a number of environmental and other groups are suing EPA over its E15 decision, Buis says his group is confident EPA's approval will be upheld.

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