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US EPA extends E15 fuel waiver to MY 2001-2006 light-duty vehicles

21 January 2011

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waived a limitation on selling gasoline that contains more than 10% ethanol for model year (MY) 2001 through 2006 passenger vehicles, including cars, SUVs, and light pickup trucks. The waiver applies to fuel that contains up to 15% ethanol (E15).

On 13 October 2010, EPA had approved a waiver allowing the use of E15 for MY 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. (Earlier post.) At that time, EPA denied a request to allow the use of E15 for MY 2000 and older vehicles and postponed its decision on the use of E15 in MY 2001 to 2006 cars and light trucks until DOE completed additional testing for those model years.

Vehicles that can use E15
  • Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs)
  • MY2001 and newer light-duty cars and trucks
  • MY 2001 and newer medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs)
  • Taken together, the two actions allow, but do not require, E15 to be introduced into commerce for use in MY2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles if conditions for mitigating misfueling and ensuring fuel quality are met. EPA is in the process of completing work on regulations that would provide a more practical means of meeting the conditions.

    In terms of fuel quality, ethanol used for E15 must meet ASTM International D4806-10, and the Reid Vapor Pressure for E15 is limited to 9.0 psi during the summertime.

    EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson made the new decision after a review of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) testing and other available data on E15’s effect on emissions from MY 2001 through 2006 cars and light trucks.

    Data from DOE testing of MY2001-2006 vehicles is available in EPA Docket #EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0211 at www.regulations.gov.

    With 2001 and newer cars and pickups included, the E15 waivers now cover 62% of vehicles on the road in the US, according to industry data cited by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). If E15 were used in all vehicles covered by this decision, the theoretical blend wall for ethanol use would be approximately 17.5 billion gallons, the RFA calculates.

    The EPA also announced that no waiver is being granted this year for E15 use in any motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles, or non-road engines because current testing data does not support such a waiver.

    These waivers represent one of a number of actions that are needed from federal, state and industry to commercialize E15 gasoline blends. Also, EPA is developing requirements to ensure that E15 is properly labeled at the gas pump. The label will be designed to prevent refueling into vehicles, engines, and equipment not currently approved for the higher ethanol blend.

    EPA granted the waiver after considering the E15 petition submitted by Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers in March 2009. In April 2009, EPA sought public comment on the petition and received about 78,000 comments.

    The petition was submitted under a Clean Air Act provision that allows EPA to waive the act’s prohibition against the sale of a significantly altered fuel if the petitioner shows that the new fuel will not cause or contribute to the failure of engine and other emission-related parts that ensure compliance with emission standards.

    January 21, 2011 in Ethanol, Fuels, Policy | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

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    I have been watching the ethanol debate for some time and the encouraging aspects of increasing efficiency and decreasing use of corn have been grindingly slow. The government puff pieces do show some improvements, like the article below:

    http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/pdfs/factfict.pdf


    And Pimental and Patzek have been pretty soundly debunked, as below:

    http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/PimentelComments4_5_05.pdf

    But it seems like the ethanol production efficiency is not improving much at all. Is that graph accurate? Has the yield on each gallon of gasoline invested in making ethanol still in the area it was around 1990?
    Rats, I don't think those links are live, but they do have some interesting info if you care to cut and paste.

    E15 is on the way. Another reason to switch to a vehicle running alternative fuel (like biodiesel) or an EV.

    Irregardless of the fuel type, we should be looking for ways to improve fuel efficiency. No matter how we create or obtain fuel, using less of it is always better.

    And yes, ethanol is only slightly more efficient than gasoline, but because its source is not OPEC, it is in the long term interests of the United States to pursue this fuel, being reliant on yourself is much better than depending on people you have shaky relations with.

    Also, please, please, please follow this link if you know anybody in the business of improving fuel efficiency, as I have invented something that could help greatly with that.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNsR8Aip0MA

    The EPA might have approved E15 for use, but the refiners will never produce it without a guarantee that they will not be held liable for damage to engines. Until that happens I see the E15 approval as a non event.

    "the refiners will never produce it without a guarantee that they will not be held liable for damage to engines."

    While it is true that in older engines and some marine engines the higher alcohol will cleanse dirt and rust resulting in clogging - this does not occur on later model engines built since 2001.

    There are very few marine inboard gas burning engines due to flammability issues with gasoline. And if you have an old outboard motor (or weed whacker) it's best not to use E15.

    But engines built starting this century use different plastics and resins unaffected by the higher alcohol content.

    And FFV engines are certified to run on E85 with no problems whatever. That should be a mandate for hybrid vehicles - FFV. When the VOLT/Prius/PHEVs begin making the ICE an FFV, we will create a more positive atmosphere for E85 pumps. Most Prius owners would elect to fill with renewable E85 than regular gas. Provided its available and cost competitive.

    Two good links to the discussion:

    http://www.fuel-testers.com/ethanol_problems_damage.html

    http://www.ethanolrfa.org/pages/ethanol-facts-engine-performance

    Can I just send a donation direct to Cargill and ADM instead of using this stuff?

    Sure. Take it out of your OPEC donation fund.

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